Since its inception in 2011 the FSN has been specifically engaged in strengthening the combined voice of farmers and public researchers in the debate on modern biotechnology in agriculture at EU level. One of the guiding principles of FSN activities is that farmers should be free to select the crops and technologies they find best suited for their needs, including GM crops that have been assessed to be as safe as their conventional counterparts.
The network carries out activities such as:
What is agricultural innovation and why agricultural innovation is important?
Farmers are confronted with the immensely challenging task of producing more nutrition and biomass on continuously shrinking arable land, with lower environmental impacts and under the effects of climate change. Technological innovation is a fundamental part of the response to this challenge.
Farmers recognize the importance of innovation. In their daily work they try, test and analyse new ideas for improving their farm production. Many farmers recognise that the adoption and combination of the best agricultural technological innovations available, such as precision breeding and precision farming, is the only realistic way of meeting the present challenges.
The 5 priorities of the FSN to the new European Commission and European Parliament.
Strengthening the farmers engagement in the potential and demonstrated benefits of precision farming and precision breeding, including biotech and gene edited crops, because the farmers tool box can provide solutions to:
- Adaptation and mitigation of climate change
- Fight against new pest and diseases
- Optimise the use of inputs
- Enabling more sustainable farming
Putting innovation at the center of the next CAP with policies that enable farmers to be competitive on the Euro- pean and global market and making European farming more sustainable. These policies should include the support of precision farming and promotion of an enabling regulatory environment for the development of new breeding techniques such as CRISPR.
Agricultural Innovation Champions
Graduated in Agricultural Sciences at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and at University of Pisa in 1994, she runs the family farm together with her sisters.
President of Confagricoltura’s National Federation of Protein and Oil Crops. She has been a director for different positions in Confagricoltura for more than 20 years.
She is involved in communication and dissemination about innovation issues in farming; in particular regarding the public understanding and acceptance of biotechnologies for plant breeding.
She is spokesperson for the manifesto Cibo per la Mente, Food for the Mind, that comprises 14 associations advocating for innovation in the food and agriculture chain.
She has been president of the Association of the Po Delta rice growers and the delegate of Confagricoltura Veneto for Expo2015.She took part in TEDxRovigo2017.
She is a member of the general council of the Luca Coscioni Association for the freedom of scientific research.
Pedro Gallardo Barrena
Pedro Gallardo Barrena, fourth generation of farmers in Puerto Real, after finishing his studies in Business Administration at the University of Cadiz, joined the family business in 1996. A family farm, where I currently live, located 6 kilometres from the nearest town. It is a dry farm whose main productions are durum wheat, triticale, sunflower, rapeseed, beans, chickpeas, vetch. At first, the family business consisted of 740 hectares. I soon held management positions until 2000, when the segregation began. After the loss of surface it was necessary to innovate in order to achieve higher yields, so in 2008 we were pioneers in the early sowing of sunflower moving the sowing from March/April to the end of January. In addition to intensifying the density of plants per hectare, where we went from sowing 70,000 plants per ha to 110,000 plants/ha.
I began to use my free time at ASAJA Cádiz where I joined the Provincial Board in 2000, then the Management Committee in 2002. In 2010 I was appointed vice-president of ASAJA Cádiz, year in which I was also appointed to represent ASAJA Nacional in COPA-COGECA for Cereals, Oilseeds and Protein crops. In 2011 I start to represent ASAJA also in the Farmers & Scientists Network. In 2016 I am appointed president of ASAJA Cádiz. Vice President of Cereals of COPA-COGECA since February 2017. Also in 2017 I join as vice-president of the Confederation of Businessmen of Cadiz. In 2018 ASAJA, Nacional appoints me national vice-president, president of the herbaceous crops sector of ASAJA Nacional. In the same year, the ASAJA Andalucía Committee agreed to represent them on the Executive Committee of the Confederation of Andalusian Businessmen. In 2019 he was appointed president of Oleaginous and Protein crops of COPA-COGECA.
Marc Von Montagu
Em. Prof. Marc Van Montagu is a pioneer in plant molecular biology. He is well known (with J. Schell) as the discoverer of the Ti-plasmid and the inventor of Agrobacterium tumefaciens gene transfer technology, now used worldwide to produce genetically engineered plants. In addition to ground-breaking contributions to unravel the natural mechanism of gene transfer in A. tumefaciens, the laboratory of Marc Van Montagu has applied gene transfer technology to study gene regulation and to discover the molecular basis of several plant physiological processes. He has given pioneering contributions on plant gene discovery and regulation, plant molecular mechanisms of response to abiotic stresses, and plant development.
Dr. Marc Van Montagu has been Founding Member and Member of the Board of Directors of two Belgian biotech companies, spin-offs from his laboratory, Plant Genetic System (PGS) and CropDesign. At PGS he has driven front-line innovations for biotech agriculture, such as plants resistant to insects or tolerant to more environmentally friendly herbicides.
Dr. Marc Van Montagu has received numerous prestigious awards and honours, in particular the Japan Prize for Biotechnology and Agriculture Sciences in 1998, and the World Food Prize in 2013. He is member of 11 academies of sciences/agriculture worldwide and recipient of 9 honorary doctorate degrees. Marc Van Montagu was the President of the European Federation of Biotechnologists from 2005-2013, and was appointed UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador for the development of agribusiness in low-income countries in 2014, renewed in 2019. He has produced over 1100 scientific publications that have received more than 96.000 citations. Due to his accomplishments, he received in 1990 the title of Baron from the King of Belgians.
Marc Van Montagu holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry/ Biochemistry and a BA in Chemistry from Ghent University.
Max grew up on his family’s farm which he took over in 1986. Stor-Tötar Gård, is an old farm that combines arable land and forestry in South Western Finland that has been in the family for around 300 years. Continuity that hopefully will go forward since Max is raising three boys together with his Spanish wife Marta.
Before taking over the full responsibility of running the farm and having taken a degree in agricultural economics, he became a grain trader for the Finnish Grain Board.
After that Max worked in the agricultural machinery sector from 2003 until 2008. This job took him all over the world from America to China.
For the last 10 years, he has been working in the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) as the Advisor for cereals, oilseeds and protein crops.
Max was Chairman from 2013 – 19 of the Cereals Working Group in Copa-Cogeca based in Brussels, member of the EU Arable Crops Market Observatory and since 2018 Chairman of the Civil Dialogue Group, Arable Crops. Owner of Farm-XPort Ltd, grain trading company. Co-founder and member of the board of Grain Sense Ltd, the portable protein and quality analyzer for grain. Chairman of VYR the Finnish Grain Chain.
The Farmers Scientists Network does not take open positions on behalf of the participants in the network. The letters below were jointly adopted by the organizations that agreed to cosign the letters. The letters represent the positions of the signatories and not of all the participants in the network.
Participants in the network
The following list regroups organizations that have taken part at least to one activity of the network in the past years:
- Agricoltori Federati (AgF, Italy, http://agricoltorifederati.it)
- AgroBiotechRom (ABR, Romania, www.agrobiotechrom.ro),
- Asociación Agraria Jóvenes Agricultores (ASAJA, Spain, www.asaja.com)
- Asociación Española de Productores de Vacuno de Carne (Asoprovac, Spain, www.asoprovac.com)
- Association Française des Biotechnologies Végétales (AFBV, France, www.biotechnologies-vegetales.com)
- Association Générale des Producteurs de Maïs (AGPM, France, www.agpm.com)
- Association of Cereal producers (ANPOC, Portugal, http://anpoc.pt/)
- Association of wheat, maize and oilseed producers (ORAMA, France)
- Associazione Agricoltori FuturAgra (FA, Italy, www.futuragra.it),
- Boerenbond (BB , Belgium, www.boerenbond.be)
- Bulgarian Association of Agricultural Producers (AZPB, Bulgaria, www.azpb.org/en/index.html)
- Bulgarian National Grain Growers Association (BNGGA, Bulgaria)
- Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners( MTK, Finland, www.mtk.fi)
- Confagricoltura (Italy, www.confagricoltura.it),
- Conservation Agriculture Association (APOSOLO, Portugal, www.aposolo.pt)
- Cooperativas Agro-alimentarias (Spain, www.agro-alimentarias.coop)
- European Confederation of Maize (EU, http://www.cepm.org)
- Fédération Nationale de la Production de Semence de Maïs et de Sorgho (FNPSMS, France, )
- InnoPlanta (Germany, www.innoplanta.de)
- Ligii Asociatiilor Producatorilor Agricoli din Romania (LAPAR, Romania, www.lapar.org )
- National Farmers Union (NFU, UK, www.nfuonline.com)
- National Farmers’ Union Cymru (NFU Cymru, Galles, http://www.nfu-cymru.org.uk/home)
- National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFUS, Scotland, http://www.nfus.org.uk/)
- National Federation of Agricultural Cooperators and Producers (MOSZ, Hungary, www.mosz.agrar.hu)
- Pubblic Research and Regulation Initiative (Worldwide, PRRI, www.pubresreg.org).
- Société des agriculteurs de France (SAF, France, www.agriculteursdefrance.com)
- Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU, Northern Ireland, http://www.ufuni.org/)
- Centro de Informação de Biotecnologia(CIB, Portugal, http://cibpt.org)
- DBV ( Deutscher Bauernverband ) https://mobil.bauernverband.de/
- CAP (Confederaçao dos Agricultores de Portugal) https://www.cap.pt/
- CEJA ( European Council of Young Farmers ) http://www.ceja.eu/
- COPA-COGECA (Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations – General Committee for Agricultural Cooperation in the European Union ) https://copa-cogeca.eu/Menu.aspx