Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

The GM and Organic Debate

The GM and Organic Debate

Date :  Monday, 12 February 2007
Time :  3.30pm - 4.15pm
Venue : Conference Room, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute
Presenter : Dr Rick Roush, University of Melbourne

The most likely sustainable future for agriculture will be to use the best tools available without regard to ideology. Organic agriculture has been seen even by groups such as the WWF as not necessarily sustainable and suffers particularly in soil nutrition, runoff of nutrients, weed control and, to a lesser extent, pest management. GM crops aid many environmental targets including reduced pesticide risks, reduced fuel use, reduced tillage and reduced CO2 emissions, and have increased farm profits and provide more free time to growers. The European Union has been extensively using GM crops for several years and is now increasingly growing them; coexistence of GM and non-GM crops is not a major issue in the US or Canada. New crop varieties have even more useful traits, such as drought and salt tolerance. The most sustainable future for agriculture will include both organic and transgenic tactics.

Currently Dean of Land and Food Resources at the University of Melbourne, Rick Roush’s career spans research, teaching, regulatory and administrative appointments in both the US and Australia. Rick’s main efforts for the last 30 years have been to develop integrated solutions for pest resistance to pesticides and transgenic crops but he has also published extensively on biological control of insects, mites and weeds. Roush earned a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked at Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Cornell and Adelaide Universities. Roush served as Director of the Weeds CRC and on the Australian government genetic engineering regulatory committees from 1998-2003 and served as the University of California Director of IPM from 2003-2006.

Contact: Prof Deirdre Lemerle, Email: , Maree Crowley, Email :

Phone: 02 6938 1667, 02 6938 1681