Wind and GM are the two big farming issues in Australia, says Rob Warburton

There are two big issues in our community at the moment. Wind farms and the contamination of an organic farm with GM canola (oilseed rape) from a nearby property. But what from the outside may look like two very different issues, are very much the same.

The wind farms are accused of emitting sub-audible noises that make people sick and GM crops have unknown affects and organic farms in Australia have zero tolerance to GM.

What’s at the heart of these two issues is people’s perception of what’s “safe”. What science does is prove to a point that the product is not unsafe. By using the product, there’s no measurable adverse affect on you or the surroundings and that using the product has a benefit far greater than the risk of an unmeasurable adverse affect.

The problem is that people in these communities want to know that the product is safe. But this is almost impossible to prove. What’s even more confusing is that many of the people against GM canola are also against wind power for the very same reasons.

While it seems petty in it’s difference, it extends wide into the community and is an issue that farmers around the world are going to have to come to terms with. The public are placing more demands on the food we produce, where it’s produced, what is it’s carbon footprint and is it safe.

The problem with the safe model is that agricultural progress will almost stop if it’s taken on. Can the people of the world and more specifically the western world take the “safe” approach to food or are we going to have to accept the not unsafe model to ensure the world has enough food and energy for the future?

Farmer Focus: Rob Warburton

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