It was with sorrow we learned of the passing of Queen Elizabeth last week , a long and fruitful life in service to her country and countrymen. As an American, you grow up and are taught certain ideas about the British Monarchy and its role. But after living under the constitutional monarchy under the Queen, both in Australia and The United Kingdom, I gained a greater understanding and appreciation of the positive things they present.
And while I was in the UK, I quickly learned how adamant a supporter of Agriculture the Queen was. Of course well known for her love of horse racing, what was not well understood or appreciated was her steadfast support for farming and the ‘countryside’. She served on various Agricultural societies including the Young Farmers Clubs and The Great Yorkshire Show, a large agriculture event. UK farming will miss her steadfast loyalty and support.
Unlike Queen Elizabeth, many of our leaders across the world today do not really understand agriculture and its critical role in feeding the world and national security. They are too willing to trade off farming requirements for ‘green’ initiatives that many times inevitably damage or restrict farmer’s abilities to supply food to feed the world. For example, The Netherlands, a country that is twice the size of New Jersey, happens to be the 2nd largest exporter of agricultural products in the world, behind the USA. Recent ‘green’ legislation passed by their government aims to reduce the number of farms by half, believing that this will benefit climate change. So now what? Where does the production go? And what about the loss of the farming industry? This could easily happen here; just look at California.
Recently the FDA announced its intent to open a dialogue on how to deal with ‘environmental claims’ on pharmaceutical products. We as an industry need to be very careful in how we address this issue as it may become a Pandora’s box. In principle, our products are developed to prevent or treat diseases. While some products may have collateral environmental benefits, if a pathway is developed to support such a claim, it may in fact be desirable. But it may end up being a future standard that does not fit all products, and even may be retroactively required of all. Be careful!