Conference notes: they said it

Wisdom from our international cousins

"No farmer yet has ever made money from growing a crop. All he has done, hopefully, is maximise his income and profit opportunity. He only makes money when he sells." Stephen Smith, Novartis.

Aussies on the middle road

"I am very concerned about the private ownership of genes." Andy Kleinhofs, Washington State University. "In Britain, there has been an almost total withdrawal of publicly funded staff from end-point cultivar development except for one or two minor crops. "Within Australia there continues to be significant input to plant breeding from public sector agencies and universities, though it is interesting to note that the overseas perception is that these Australian agencies are almost de facto private breeding entities because of input to them through R&D corporations, particularly the GRDC." John Radcliffe, CSIRO.

Water scarce...

"Drought has become the greatest threat to food security, human health and natural ecosystems. An estimated 1.4 billion people are dependent on agriculture in regions where scarcity of water, not land, is the problem." Brian Forster, Scottish Research Institute.

... but crops in abundance

"The yield performance of all major crop plants has been substantially increased throughout the past century. For example, in Germany the average grain yield of spring barley harvested by farmers has grown from less than 2 t/ha in the early 19th century to current levels of more than 5 t/ha," Wolfgang Friedt, Justus-Liebeg University, Germany.