It isn’t impossible to talk about sustainability in agriculture to either farmers or environmentalists, says the head of Corteva Agriscience.
Even though many think the two groups can’t see eye-to-eye on sustainability issues, Jim Collins thinks the two are getting into a talking mood.
“I had some really rough conversations with some of the key farm organizations in North America,” said Collins, the chief executive officer of Corteva, about his early 2019 attempts to find a middle ground on sustainability.
At the time, most farmers seemed to see demands for proving sustainability to be a threat and an imposition, and therefore to be resisted.
“A year later, there is this ground swell (of willingness) that is starting.”
Collins has found some farmers embracing the notion of not only being sustainable, but of being willing to prove it to the public.
On the other side, he has found willingness among environmentalists to consider supporting the creation of genetically modified organisms if they will achieve important environmental goals.
“If it helps the planet, we’re all in,” is how Collins described one environmentalist’s reaction to hearing about an impact-reducing GMO innovation.
If environmentalists can open their minds to biotechnology, and farmers can reduce their resistance to the idea of having to show they practice sustainable agriculture, there’s hope.
“That’s what gives me the confidence. If we can talk about some of the good things we’re doing, while maintaining productivity, while feeding 10 billion people, I think there’s a window there to do it.”