Rules, regulations and red tape are often seen as the roadblocks of progress by those with innovative ideas and products.
The same rules, regulations and red tape are also the safeguards which exist to protect people and the world around us.
However, as in all things, common sense and balance are required.
The challenge is determining where the line of balance is, and then maintaining the flexibility to adjust that line as needed.
That flexibility, if it exists, is of course being put to the test these days as new innovation and scientific advancement is emerging at startling speeds.
In the farm sector that is certainly the case as science is making huge strides in terms of just about every aspect of production. Those steps include advancements in plant breeding techniques that are allowing new varieties to come to production much more rapidly, which is a good thing, if the techniques used are well-understood and the regulations reasonable to deal with.
That said, it is rather clear at present a growing segment of the population sees science as a near ‘dark art’ that they increasingly fear. We have seen that manifest itself in areas such as those shunning child vaccinations against disease which once killed thousands, and on the farm the shudder the term genetically modified crop sends through many.
It is somewhat understandable that today’s science is beyond the ability of many of us to fully understand, although I suspect that has always been the case. When something is not easily understood it is easier to fear it.
The difference today of course is that the fear is often made worse by the deluge of information available at our fingertips. Often reports that are suggested as cold hard facts conflict with other reports also deemed equally factual.
And, then there are the deluge of half-truths, rumours, opinions and outright fabrications that float nebulously around social media muddying the water in terms of actually knowing if a new science is good, or bad.
That is why we need well-established regulations, because there needs to be processes in place to determine safety for those things the public is generally not qualified to fully understand.
That does not mean however that such processes should be barriers to new developments.
In terms of agriculture there is a constant need for new varieties, better crop protection products, better fertilizers, simply better everything to allow producers to stay competitive with farmers around the world, and to increase production in the face of a growing population.
That is where the balance is required.
Calvin Daniels is Editor with Yorkton This Week.