The UF Horticultural Sciences department recently hosted the Florida Agriculture Biotechnology Literacy and Communications Day. This conference was intent to teach scientists to effectively communicate their ideas in a time when public distrust of science and technology is at an all time high.
Plant biotechnology, oftentimes referred to as “GMO technology”, has been safely and effectively used in agriculture for almost two decades. Many new products await approval and could have profound positive impacts that benefit the environment, the needy, the farmer and the consumer. However, public distrust of the technology slows application and invites prohibitive rules and policy changes. The divide between the science and the public perception is caused by inadequate communication about the technology. This workshop featured speakers like Washington Post journalist Tamar Haspel, Biofortified co-founder Karl Haro von Mogel, and other experts in biotechnology and communications to discuss how to connect with a concerned public looking for answers in this area.
Several UF/IFAS professors spoke, including UF Horticultural Sciences professor Dr. Curtis Hannah. Watch his explanation of how biotech traits work: