Issue Papers

Issue Papers - IP59 - March 2018

This report examines the current U.S. regulatory system for GE crops, compares it with those of major trading partners, and considers the effects it has on agricultural biotechnology. The authors of this CAST Issue Paper show that despite foundational contributions requiring considerable public resource commitments for GE crop innovation and development, academic institutions and small private entities have been almost entirely excluded from the agricultural biotechnology market. The regulatory system needs to be adjusted, or "public, academic, and small business entities will continue to be frustrated in using these safe tools to deliver useful products." Chair: Alan McHughen (Chair), University of California, Riverside. IP59, March 2018, 20 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).
(key words: biotech innovation, genetic engineering, GM crops, GMO)

Issue Papers - IP58 - April 2017

Crop Protection Contributions toward Agricultural Productivity is a paper in the series on The Need for Agricultural Innovation to Sustainably Feed the World by 2050. Many rely on just a few to provide food and fiber—and crop protection techniques are a major factor in this essential productivity. Innovation and a push for the development of integrated plant protection technologies must continue to provide effective, economical, and efficient pest management. The authors of this CAST Issue Paper examine the current plant protection revolution that is driven by the biological realities of pesticide resistance, various market forces, and real or perceived side effects of pesticides. This science-based review considers many plant protection trends, considers new technologies, and examines current biotech advancements. Chair: Susan Ratcliffe, University of Illinois, Urbana. IP58, April 2017, 20 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).
(Key Words: seed treatments, IPM, insect management, weed management, plant pathogens, biologicals, PIPs)

Issue Papers - IP57 - March 2017

Plant Breeding and Genetics is a paper in the series on The Need for Agricultural Innovation to Sustainably Feed the World by 2050. Humans depend on plants for food, feed, fiber, and fuel—as well as less tangible aspects of life such as aesthetics and environmental stability. This paper is the first in a series that connects science and technology to agriculture, and it focuses on the critical importance of innovation in plant breeding to meet the challenge of providing food and nutritional security to humankind. Key areas covered include (1) the science of plant breeding and genetics; (2) the need for encouraging the next generation of scientists; (3) the current role of government policy and regulations; and (4) the need for cooperation and collaboration at all levels, including the public-private nexus. Co-chairs: P. Stephen Baenziger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Rita H. Mumm, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. IP57, March 2017, 24 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).
(Key Words: genetic technologies, genetic variation, phenotyping, hybridization, molecular biology, regulatory oversight, genomics, haploidy, cultivar)

Issue Papers - IP56-SPA - June 2016

A los niños se les enseña la frase “eres lo que comes” y esta frase se repite posteriormente a lo largo de la vida. Este dicho habla de la íntima conexión entre lo que el individuo decide comer y su salud—y hasta su identidad. Dada la actual cadena de suministro alimentaria, predominantemente global, los consumidores no pueden observar los procesos de producción de los alimentos que consumen. Con frecuencia, los consumidores se ven expuestos a etiquetas que comunican aspectos específicos del proceso de producción de alimentos. El progreso en la ciencia y la tecnología agrícola ha sido de beneficio, tanto para los productores como para los consumidores y será necesario para mejorar la condición de los pobres en los Estados Unidos y el resto del mundo. Este artículo de CAST examina lo que se sabe sobre las reacciones de los consumidores ante las etiquetas de proceso, identifica un marco legal en este sentido y por último, presenta directrices de políticas que ponen en relieve en qué momento el etiquetado de proceso es de beneficio o puede ser perjudicial para el sector agrícola y las personas que consumen los alimentos que éste produce. Chair: Kent D. Messer, Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, University of Delaware, Newark. IP56, October 2015, 16 pp. Gratuito. Disponible en línea e impreso (Cuota de envío y manejo).

Issue Papers - IP56 - October 2015

We live in a world of labels, and even though information is crucial, some labeling leads to confusion, negative views, and misunderstanding. In the supermarket, consumers might misinterpret “facts” or develop disparaging images. The authors of this paper look at the impact labeling has on the food industry—the choices consumers make, the way labeling affects the adoption of technology, and the influence labeling might have on the amount of money spent for research and product development. Legislators, regulatory officials, and consumers will benefit from the thoughtful, science-based information in this Issue Paper. Chair: Kent D. Messer, Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, University of Delaware, Newark. IP56, October 2015, 16 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP55 - November 2014

Crop protection is critical to the growth of healthy plants, the enhancement of the environment, and the production of healthy foods. Recognition of the critical role of crop protection in food production has been ignored and derided by some sectors. This Issue Paper (IP 55) reviews the benefits of crop protection, including the use of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides in crop production. The information provides a summary of the benefits of Integrated Pest Management as well as a section focusing on new uses of pesticides that are efficacious in reducing risk and providing new benefits. Chair: Stephen Weller, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University. IP55, November 2014, 28 pp., FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling may apply).

Mandarin Chinese translation also available as download (click link).

Issue Papers - IP54 - April 2014

Although genetically engineered (GE) products are used around the world, the issue becomes contentious when they are present in our food. A key part of the resulting debate centers on proposals regarding the mandatory labeling of GE food. With some states considering legislation to mandate such labels, this CAST Issue Paper (IP 54)examines arguments for and against labels, the costs involved with labeling, and experiences in countries that use mandatory labeling. Chair: Alison Van Eenennaam, Department of Animal Science, University of California - Davis. IP54, April 2014, 16 pp., FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).
(Keywords: GE Labeling, GE Food, Biotech, GMO)

GE Labeling Impact Report - June 2014

View videos of the April 28, 2014 panel discussion here.

Issue Papers - IP53 - September 2013

A popular belief exists that animal agriculture competes for human food supplies and wastes resources. Little scientific information exists regarding this concept, and it is therefore necessary to quantify human-inedible feedstuff use and re-examine the feed efficiency concept using a ratio of human-edible feedstuff input to human-edible (animal protein) output. This paper (IP 53) addresses the commonly heard argument that livestock compete with humans for food resources, thus providing support for the continued existence of livestock production.  It also addresses the knowledge gap that currently exists as to the quantity of human feed and fiber by-products used within animal agriculture. Chair:  Jude Capper, Montana State University.  IP53, September 2013, 16 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).


Issue Papers - IP52 - June 2013

This paper looks at the history and purpose of the precautionary principle (PP) and examines problems of ambiguity, arbitrary application, and bias against new technologies. Because the publication (IP 52) is especially focused on the need to feed a growing population, the case studies center on agricultural issues such as pesticide use, genetically modified foods, and food irradiation. The authors state that the PP has played an important part in bringing attention to appropriate risk management. If it is applied in its more stringent formulations, however, the PP will suppress innovation, to the detriment of both the economy and human health. Chair:  Gary Marchant, Arizona State University.  IP52, June 2013, 20 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Video of Panel Discussion (courtesy of GW Regulatory Studies Center): Precautionary Principle: Innovative Concept or Risky Business
Intros (0:00 - 13:00), Dr. Marchant's presentation of paper (13:00 - 37:00), Panel Discussion (37:00 - 1:07), Q&A (1:07 - 1:30).

Dr. Gary Marchant, Regents' Professor of Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
Susan Dudley, Director, GW Regulatory Studies Center and Research Professor of Public Policy, The George Washington University
Dr. Ricardo Salvador, Director and Senior Scientist, Food and Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
Dr. Sally Kane, President, Society for Risk Analysis--National Capital Area Chapter (Moderator)

Issue Papers - IP51 - March 2013

Future food, fiber, and fuel demands will not be met by expanding cropland area; continued advances in nutrient use efficiency will moderate increased nutrient demand. With a growing population, dwindling arable land, and an increased demand for biofuels, the world cannot count on an expansion of harvested area to fill the demands of the world’s growing population. The use of genetics to improve crop productivity, promote soil conservation and management, and use nutrients efficiently is necessary. The key lies in supporting research and development in these areas. This CAST Issue Paper (IP 51) looks at the background leading to the current situation and addresses the resulting requirements as world food production develops during the next 40 years. The authors use data to analyze factors influencing crop production now and indications of what is to come, and they show how research regarding nutrient use, recovery, and recycling is crucial. Chair: David Zilberman, University of California -- Berkeley.  IP51,March 2013, 24 pp. FREE. Available online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Paper 51 Rollout Presentation by Dr. Zilberman and Dr. Bruce Dale