The highly anticipated and contested Iowa Caucus has wrapped up and the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates are on to New Hampshire.  While the focus was on Iowa, the Global Farmer Network used the opportunity to communicate with the candidates, and just as important those attending the caucus, on the importance of free and open trade for agriculture.

The day before the Feb 1 caucus the The Gazette published Iowa caucus voters should consider trade issues by Tim Burrack, Global Farmer Network Vice Chair.  The state’s second largest newspaper covers the Cedar Rapids, Iowa City corridor and Eastern Iowa.  A few days earlier on Jan 28 the state’s largest paper The Des Moines Register ran a letter to the editor version Trade protectionists threaten US economy.

The problem this year as Burrack stated:

In the Hawkeye State, we’ve always had vigorous debates about trade, even as our economy depends so much on the ability of farmers like me to sell what we grow to customers around the world. This year, however, it sometimes seems like the only disputes are over who will reject the most trade agreements, impose the highest tariffs, build the biggest wall and launch the biggest trade wars. Too many candidates are spewing foolish talk on trade.

What the eventual nominees and next President do about trade issues remains to be seen, but, it’s critical for the candidates to keep hearing from voters why trade matters and is important. Burrack’s column can also be seen as Iowa’s Raucous Trade Caucus (Jan 28, 2016) on the Global Farmer Network website.

Here are a few additional recent news items of interest below….

GM Mosquitoes:

This Is How to Stop the Zika Virus – Jan 29 by Michael Reilly, MIT Technology Review… cell phones, genetically modified mosquitoes and gene drive are in the arsenal to fight the virus.

GM mosquitoes protect Brazilian city from Zika – Jan 28 by Catarina Chagas, SciDevNet… The release of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes whose offspring die before they become mature adults has slashed numbers of the insects in a Brazilian city in a state troubled by Zika fever.

Citrus Greening:

California citrus growers told to brace for HLB – Jan 27 by Todd Fitchette in Western Farm Press… the same ominous trend witnessed in Texas ahead of its Huanglongbing (HLB) explosion is now being observed in California.

Biotech crops:

Potato freed of deadly disease – Jan 29 by Reaz Ahmad in The Daily Star (Bangladesh)… Bangladeshi scientists have successfully field-tested a genetically modified (GM) potato resistant to late blight.

Investments can propel cassava biotech – Jan 29 by Katharina Schmidt in SciDevNet… Genomics, an emergent technology dealing with genes, is getting cassava scientists excited about the potential of growing more cassava in a much shorter time and much more efficient way.