“Biotechnology is an important tool — it’s not the only tool, but is an important one — and I believe it should be available to all farmers. I believe the attitude in Europe toward GMO products is the wrong one. I think the European community should be more open minded, and I think this technology will eventually be embraced here,” Berschauer says.

Embracing technology on a global basis may create some positive changes that will help farmers meet the future demand for food. Technological advances may create some changes in cropping patterns globally that will make farming more efficient and more profitable.

For example, Berschauer says, “I studied, from 1970 to 1974, the production of corn in Germany. At that time, corn production here was virtually non-existent. We didn’t have the proper varieties to grow here.

“Today, thanks to technological advances, primarily crop breeding programs, corn is a common crop in Germany. No doubt, crops in Germany, and other parts of the world have changed a great deal in a relatively short span of time.

“Currently, soybean production in Germany is difficult and virtually as non-existent as was corn 30 to 40 years ago. Climate change and new technologies may make it possible to grow soybeans on a large scale in Germany and other parts of Europe.

“Not only is new technology critical to the success, if not survival, of farmers on a worldwide basis, it is likewise critical to the success of agricultural chemical companies charged with providing farmers with the tools they need to be successful.

“From today’s perspective, Bayer CropScience should have gotten into the seed and trait business earlier. This would have allowed the company to compete better in developing genetic traits incorporated into seed.

“From 1993 until 1998, I was a member of the management team of the old Bayer Crop Protection organization. At that time, I was not convinced we should enter seeds and traits — my opinion. Today, I have a different opinion,” Berschauer says.

“The business of agriculture needs to be competitive. Hopefully, we will operate with free trade in a global market, and I firmly believe that we have to work together to meet future demands for food. Surely, the amount of land available for growing crops is limited and probably decreasing significantly, and we need to consider these factors on a global basis.

“The challenge of increased food production will pressure politicians and other world leaders to re-evaluate policies that are adversarial. The opportunity is there globally for agriculture to be elevated to a new level, and I believe farmers in the future will be more positively regarded for their contributions to feeding the world.”

rroberson@farmpress.com