Biotech and Organic: Different Solutions to Similar Problems


Workshop audio recording from the 2017 MOSES Organic Farming Conference.


Michael Sligh and Bill Tracy
Friday Session III

Organic and non-organic farmers often face similar production problems, yet their management strategies are very different. Non-organic farmers can use silver-bullet tools like pesticides and GMOs, which may get the job done in the short term, but accelerate resistance and perpetuate the pesticide treadmill. We will discuss current approaches to farming, and offer potential solutions to build more durable pathways to a sustainable farming system.

Michael Sligh works for Rural Advancement Foundation International, based in N.C. He was founding chair of the National Organic Standards Board, as well as a founding member of USDA-Agricultural Biotechnology Advisory Council. He has over 30 years of experience in agricultural policies, and co-authored Farmer’s Guide to GMOs.

Bill Tracy heads the agronomy department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is the Clif Bar and Organic Valley Chair of Plant Breeding for Organic Agriculture. He leads the largest public sector sweet corn breeding program in the world. He is a passionate advocate for public plant breeding.