Farmer-focused Risk Analysis of Genetically Modified Herbicide-tolerant Canola and Wheat in the Canadian Prairies
Ian Mauro, PhD candidate
University of Manitoba
The issue of genetically modified (GM) and herbicide-tolerant (HT) wheat is controversial. To date, rural communities (especially farmers) throughout Western Canada have largely been left out of the policy discussions on this important topic. This is a concern, as the knowledge of farmers and rural communities is essential for the development and assessment of suitable methods of food production.
To document the attitudes and experiences of rural residents towards Roundup Ready wheat (and other GM crops) across the Canadian Prairies.
Stéphane McLachlan is Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba. Ian Mauro is a U of M PhD candidate. The research they conduct is community-focused and aims at developing and promoting the use of experience-based rural knowledge to analyze the benefits and risks associated with GM and HT crops.
GM Wheat Survey Theme Areas:
- Consumer perceptions of GM foods
- Rural community health
- Benefits and risks of GM and HT canola
- The impacts (social, economic, and agronomic) of GM and HT canola on farms and rural communities
- GM wheat technology and future research
- The pros and cons of Roundup Ready wheat
- Farmers willingness to grow various GM wheat systems
- Issues regarding GM wheat field trials
- The impact of GM crops on non-adopters
- Patent and infringement issues relating to GM crops
- Farmer stewardship and environmental impacts of GM crops
- Local rural knowledge and GM crops
We are independent researchers funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Manitoba Rural Adaptations Council (MRAC). The data we collect are for research and educational purposes. Moreover, we are confident that these data will influence policy. We have extensively consulted with farmers, farmer groups, other researchers, marketing agencies and industry in the development of this survey. This research is not being conducted for industry.
Previous Farmer-Focused Research on GM Crops
For many years Ian Mauro and Stéphane McLachlan have been studying the impacts of GM crops on Prairie farmers and the environment. In spring 2003, they conducted a largely canola focused survey of farmers in Manitoba. The results of this study have been of great interest to farm groups, policy makers and industry worldwide. Data from the canola survey were presented to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the fall 2003 and are now being published.
Ian Mauro, PhD candidate