Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bayer launches website

Monheim, December 7, 2017 - Bayer today launched its new transparency website (https://cropscience-transparency.bayer.com), designed to enable access to scientific data needed for the evaluation of plant protection products. With this step, Bayer is taking a leadership role in driving transparency, while safeguarding the company’s confidential product composition and manufacturing process data. In addition to summaries of safety-related study reports for a significant number of active substances, Bayer will start to enable non-commercial access to the respective safety-related study reports, commencing with reports on imidacloprid. Background material such as videos and infographics are provided to help put regulatory science into context. In this way, Bayer wants to foster an open and transparent dialog. "As conflicting accounts about the safety of food or technologies are making it difficult for people to separate fact from fiction, this Bayer initiative is an important step towards increased transparency," said Dr. Adrian Percy, global head of Research and Development for the Crop Science Division. "By sharing safety data, which was previously only shared with authorities, we hope to connect the public with our scientific community in a way that builds trust and shows our desire to further create transparency." "We are excited to launch our new website which also aims to support authorities around the globe by providing an alternative tool, other than filing freedom of information requests, for them to obtain the documents which underlie our registration procedures," said Percy. "We want non-commercial interested parties - from a concerned citizen to a member of the scientific community - to be able to access safety-relevant information in a way that is quick and easy to understand, so that they can base their opinions on scientific data." Bayer's new transparency website will be updated on a regular basis. In the next phase, which is planned for early 2018, non-commercial users will be able to request access to additional full, in-depth safety-related study reports. Furthermore, Bayer plans to add other language options to its new website, for example German.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Verdancy Converts Barren Lands to Fruitful Fields

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- It doesn't look like your typical farm, irrigation piping snakes across rows of plants neatly organized across the concrete floors of a former chicken farm. Nor are they typical farmers. Five years ago, Volker Chen and George Hu established Verdancy in response to the growing imbalance of rural and urban development. "Society prioritizes industrial values, and rural life has grown increasingly impoverished. What if we offer a solution, where people can earn a good living and stay close to their family?" says Hu. They began by integrating their agricultural knowledge with urban resources, bringing together investment matchmaking, marketing, and trade experience into a new sustainable business model. In 2013, Hu raised US $1.5 million and started a 2 hectare pilot project in an abandoned chicken farm in north Taiwan. They recruited four people, all with zero farming experience to start. "We wanted to prove that our system can work for anyone," Chen says proudly. "Most of our friends in the city are not happy. It's obvious, low income and high costs for everything. If you had the choice, who wouldn't want to make money in their hometown and be with family?" said August Hong, one of the farmers. The three farmers working in Verdancy's tidy greenhouse enthusiastically add: "Now that we have the farming skills, and with Verdancy as our marketing and investment team, we feel confident we can keep growing!" In just two years, the four farm rookies learned to grow tomatoes, strawberries, turmeric, dragon fruit, and more. One has since started his own independent farm. Two others formed a new Verdancy cluster "Million Farmers." More recruits now learn these novel and efficient farming methods to take on new projects. "We turn wasted factories and barren lands into profitable planting fields," says Hu. Instead of traditional land farming, Verdancy uses nonwoven bags for grow beds. Each plant grows individually to prevent contagious disease or soil contamination. In addition, under the guidance of Taipei Medical University professor Han Bor-Cheng, known as the father of detox diets in the Chinese community, Verdancy focuses on plants with the highest medicinal and economic value in Chinese medicine. "When we change farmers' lives, we change the world." This is the first thing Verdancy tells their stakeholders. To make this dream a reality, Verdancy integrated Taiwan's best biological, pathologic and agricultural expertise. The backbone of this success comes from the support of the renowned "Plant Dr." Tsay Tung-tsuan, also known as the savior of agriculture in China and Taiwan. He developed unique bio-technology and techniques to protect plants' root systems. "Healthy roots lead to healthy plants; healthy plants lead to bigger yields and more money!" Wise words from the plant doctor. Verdancy co-founder Chen spent 5 years as a disciple of Dr. Tsay, and has helped turn Tsay's biological formula and experience into a step-by-step "Efficient Farming Guide for Dummies" for various plants. From seeding, planting, fertilizing to harvesting, following this guide, anyone can learn farming. In addition, Verdancy emphasizes their products' safety and high quality. All Verdancy farmed goods must pass the highest international standards. And they have earned various certifications verifying they are pesticide residue free. Today, Verdancy is working with different partners in 5 different cities in Asia, and has consulted on dozens of agriculture projects. Their newest projects, farming off grid, explores emission-free operations with solar micro-grids. For more information, please visit: www.verdancy.company

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Survey Shows Massive Opioid Impact in Farm Country; Farm Groups Call for Dialogue, Action

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 30, 2017 – The opioid crisis has struck farm and ranch families much harder than the rest of rural America, a Morning Consult survey shows. While just under half of rural Americans say they have been directly impacted by opioid abuse, 74 percent of farmers and farm workers say they have. Three in four farmers say it would be easy for someone in their community to access opioids illegally, and just under half of rural adults – 46 percent – say the same. The poll, sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union, is a first step in the groups’ collaboration on this issue. “We’ve known for some time that opioid addiction is a serious problem in farm country, but numbers like these are heartbreaking,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Opioids have been too easy to come by and too easy to become addicted to. That’s why we are urging everyone we know to talk to their friends, family, co-workers – anyone at all they know or suspect needs help. And because opioid addition is a disease, it’s up to all of us to help people who suffer from it and help them find the treatment they need. Government cannot and will not fix this on its own. Rural communities are strong. The strengths of our towns can overcome this crisis.” “The opioid crisis is not just some talking point or abstract issue—it is an enormous challenge for both rural and urban America, and we as a country need to come to grips with it,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “These responses demonstrate the reach of the unrelenting and deadly crisis that is gripping farm families across the country. Farm and rural communities currently face major challenges in the fight against addiction, like access to services, treatment and support. Time and time again, farmers and ranchers have come together to help their families and their neighbors through challenging situations. That same resolve and compassion will help us break the grips of opioid addiction in rural America.” More highlights from the survey: • Half of farmers and farm workers (50 percent) say addiction to opioids is a disease, rather than due to a lack of willpower. • Three in four farmers (77 percent), as well as those who work in agriculture generally (76 percent), say it would be easy for someone in their community to access a large amount of prescription opioids or painkillers without a prescription. • Rural adults overwhelmingly recognize that opioid abuse can begin accidentally with the use of what are deemed safe painkillers, or opioids (75 percent). • Rural adults are largely unaware that rural communities are impacted the most by the opioid crisis (31 percent). And, they say opioid abuse is a major problem in urban communities more so than in rural communities by a 10-point margin (57 percent vs. 47 percent). • One in three rural adults (34 percent) say it would be easy to access treatment for addiction to prescription drugs or heroin in their local community. But, less than half (38 percent) are confident they could seek care that is either effective, covered by insurance, convenient or affordable. • One in three rural adults say there is a great deal of stigma associated with opioid abuse in their local community (31 percent), and that the stigma of abuse and addiction contributes a great deal to the opioid crisis (32 percent). • A strong majority of rural Americans believe increasing public education surrounding resources (68 percent) and reducing the shame or stigma around opioid addiction (57 percent) are effective means for solving the opioid crisis.