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Agriculture This Week: Good science is only route to follow

In the end the system must ultimately follow the best science as it’s the only reasonable path to follow.
health harvest 4
Having Canadian regulations a good thing. (File Photo)

YORKTON - Good science should generally rule decisions.

That does not mean that science is never wrong.

What it means at a moment in time it is the best information we have available, trumping gut feelings and political agendas and other vague reasons to do something.

Of course at times the science today can become obsolete tomorrow as new information is discovered – which is what science at its heart is all about.

The results of science however are increasingly under question, and that has merit and also creates its own set of issues.

Take for example a new agriculture development in crop protection products, or new science creation of a crop variety. How quickly should it be green-lit for widespread farmer use?

There are those who suggest Health Canada drags out the process – more so than say the United States.

That would seem to put Canadian producers at a disadvantage, but it should also be seen as a positive that Canada has it’s own processes.

Trusting the processes you have no direct control over has its risks which could impact not just producers, but also consumers, so caution always needs to be the driver of decision making.

Certainly there is good reason to share information, but Canada-specific processes are still important too.

Does there need to be balance?

Certainly, but trusted Canadian science is a good starting point for approving something new.

Of courses if the Canadian processes really do put a drag on approval the solution is added resources to fund the processes so they become more expedient – unless of course added time is to ensure the best science is utilized and then again you trust that science.

Certainly some will read this and think I bow to science too much, but it is more simply a case of I see no better option than scientific results for many developments.

Crossing our fingers and trusting something is good and safe without good science behind it makes no sense.

Of course ensuring good science can be difficult. Often who is paying for the scientific research can bring into question results. Writing the cheques may appear to influence results from the perspective of getting the next cheque.

That is a large factor in why government dollars invested in agriculture research is so critical. Public dollars will at least be perceived to have less strings attached and that is a positive in itself.

Still in the end the system must ultimately follow the best science as it’s the only reasonable path to follow.

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