My guess is that within a decade, the widespread acceptance of GM crops will make many of these issues disappear. China is aggressively courting genetic scientists to relocate there. Roll-your-own gene jockeys can gear up today for less than $100,000. The United States can remain in the top tier of countries in carrying out responsible and useful genetic research, including research into the risks presented by this new technology; or we can abdicate our place, and let other nations and individuals do as they please. The future of agriculture is not a return to the 17th century. New technology will be required to feed the billions coming, and this progress cannot be stopped. The cat is long out of the bag.

(Philip Bowles made these comments as part of a grower/industry panel at the recent Western Alfalfa and Forage Conference in Las Vegas. Bowles is the president of Bowles Farming Company, Los Banos, Calif. He farms irrigated alfalfa hay, cotton, tomatoes, and wheat. Bowles Farming Company is one of the oldest farms in California, with a history going back to the 1850s. Bowles is a graduate of Yale University, with a degree in drama, and was a member of California Ag Leadership Class XVI. Bowles is current chair and founding member of the California Alfalfa & Forage Association, and a grower representative to the National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance.)