Commentary: How to Win an Argument on Biotechnology


By Gary Truitt, Hoosier Ag Today

Nov 13, 2017


Chances are that, if you are involved in production agriculture, you have had a discussion with someone about biotechnology. Most likely, it centered around whether GMOs in food are safe. Odds are you did not win the argument or change the personís mind. Yet, getting people to trust the technology we use to produce food is key to the future of agriculture. So how do you build consumer trust in GE food?


Dr. Keven Folta is an international advocate for biotechnology in agriculture. He is a scientist and educator who has been outspoken about the safety and benefits of genetic engineering and, as a result, has become a target for those who oppose this technology. Folta maintains that, for the most part, we, in agriculture, have been going about it all wrong. He notes that most who try to defend biotechnology always lead with the facts and the science. He says most consumers donít want to hear the facts and donít trust the science. He observed that opponents of GE food use emotion and, for anyone besides a scientist, emotion will always trump the facts.


Another suggestion Folta makes is to choose your battles. Arguing with an activist whose organization exists because of their opposition to biotechnology is not worth the time. They will never accept your position because, if they did, they would lose their job or at least their social standing. Face it folks ó we are never going to convince everyone. Focus on those who are willing to listen and who do not have a vested interest in opposing biotechnology.


Folta suggests first we establish a common goal: safe food...