Farmers have a new favorite member of the British royal family: Princess Anne.

Queen Elizabeth, és clar, is regal and steadya model leader of a constitutional monarchy who floats above the political turbulence of Parliament and provides institutional stability. Her grandson Prince William has the appearance of a promising leader, and Williams bride Kate Middleton has turned into the Jackie Kennedy of the United Kingdom: a poised and stylish wife and mother.

Then theres Prince Charles. Unlike his wise mother, he dabbles like a dilettante in fashionable causes such as global warming, urban planning, and organic farming.

He also despises genetically modified cropsthe kind that I grow on my farm in Washington State, and one of the tools that our world needs if it hopes to feed a swelling global population as well as to practice environmentally sustainable and economically responsible agriculture.

Then theres Princess Anne, my new royal hero. She recently made the news for her scientifically sensible views: Gene technology has got real benefits to offer, she told a BBC radio program last month. Surely, if were going to be better at producing food of the right value, then we have to accept that genetic technology is going to be a part of that.

She recognized that not everybody shares her views: GM is one of those things that divides people. Yet she also wants to have a conversation that encourages crop-technology skeptics to reconsider the precautionary principle, a risk-management theory that has hobbled innovation in Europe: To say we mustnt go there just in case is probably not a practical argument.

Perhaps, like her brother Charles, shes guilty of speaking out on a topic that calls for royal silence. Heres the key difference: She actually knows what shes talking about.

The 66-year-old Princess Anne is a longtime champion of sound science. She has served as president of the British Science Association, a post previously held by two sons of Charles Darwin as well as Nobel Prize-winning physicists. She is also a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciencesthe only member of the royal family to hold this position.

Whats more, she raises crops and livestock on a working farm in the western part of England. Princess Anne exudes no-nonsense practicality, according to a profile in Country Life magazine. The back of her Range Rover is unglamorously full of hedge-cutting equipment.

So she understands both science and agriculture. When the BBC asked her if she would like to grow genetically modified crops on her farm, she replied simply: Yes.

desafortunadament, farmers in the United Kingdom face severe restrictions on what they can plant and how they protect the crops. They dont enjoy anything like the same access to technology as farmers in the United States, Canadà, i en altres llocs.

This may be part of the reason many farmers voted for Brexit last year: They wanted to escape from the stifling regulations imposed on them by Brussels. Minister of Agriculture George Eustice recently said that when the UK departs the EU, it may re-examine GM cropswhich is to say that Princess Anne just might get her wish.

Prince Charles, és clar, wont like that. He once warned that the use of GM crops will be guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster environmentally of all time.

What balderdash. If we care about the environment, we need the biotechnology tool because it lets us grow more food on less land, while also fighting both soil erosion and greenhouse gases. Thats why I choose to grow GM crops on my farmand thats probably why Princess Anne would like to grow them on hers.

Its corny, but Im going to say it: Princess Anne may be 12th in line for the British crown, but shes first in the hearts of global farmers.