Perspectives on GE Crops from US Agricultural Extension


The committee held a webinar on Wednesday, October 1, from 2-4pm Eastern to gather information from invited speakers. The webinar featured:

Dominic Reisig, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist, North Carolina Cooperative Extension. bio

Dominic Reisig has been an assistant professor in the North Carolina State University Department of Entomology since 2009, serving with an extension/research split. He is assigned extension responsibilities for insect pests of field crops throughout the state. Most of the field crop acreage is located in the eastern part of the state, and Dr. Reisig is housed two hours east of campus at the Vernon James Research and Extension Center. He keeps growers in other parts of the state informed through face-to-face meetings and a large web presence, focused on blogging and social media platforms such as Twitter. His research program is focused on the biology and ecology of Heliothines, especially in relation to Bt crops. Piercing sucking insect pests (i.e., stink bugs, thrips, and kudzu bug) have become an increased problem in the reduced-spray environment created by Bt. Other areas of his research program are focused on the distribution, movement, ecology, and management of these piercing sucking insect pests in farmscapes.

Mohamed Khan, Professor & Extension Sugarbeet Specialist, North Dakota State University and University of Minnesota. bio

Dr. Mohamed Khan is the Extension Sugarbeet Specialist for North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota. He is responsible for developing, conducting, and evaluating educational programs that will improve sugarbeet production practices in North Dakota and Minnesota. Dr. Khan research is aimed at improving management of diseases such as Cercospora leaf spot, Rhizoctonia crown and root rot, Rhizomania and Fusarium yellows, and agronomic practices such as optimum plant populations and nitrogen management. Dr. Khan is the secretary of the Sugarbeet Research and Education Board of Minnesota and North Dakota (SBREB). The SBREB is responsible for funding and promoting research and educational programs in sugarbeet production. Dr. Khan is also the Chairman of the International Sugarbeet Institute which organizes an annual 2-day trade show. About 3,000 growers and allied industry personnel participate in the exposition that involves over 120 exhibitors who showcase more than $3 million worth of machinery and equipment involved in sugarbeet production. Dr. Khan received his BS from the University of Guyana, MS from the University of Bath, UK, and his PhD from Clemson University. He is also experienced in managing tropical crops including coconut, oil palm and sugar cane.

Rick Kersbergen, Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension. bio

Rick Kersbergen has been active in conducting research and Extension activities related to sustainable dairy and forage systems in Maine since 1987. He is currently an Extension Professor with the University of Maine and a Certified Crop Adviser through the American Society of Agronomy. Rick conducts educational programing and research on a wide variety of topics, including organic dairy production, no-till corn silage production, cover crops, and organic grain production. Rick received a Trustee Professorship from the University of Maine in 2005 and has been the PI or co-PI on numerous research grants to the University of Maine, University of Vermont, and University of New Hampshire. He has recently worked on several projects including a project from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture entitled “Assisting Organic Dairy Producers to Meet the Demands of New and Emerging Milk Markets” and a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) project on “Reducing Fuel and Fertilizer in Corn Silage Using No-till and Cover Crops.” Rick works with numerous commodity organizations including the Maine Grass Farmers Network, Maine Dairy Industry Association, Maine Organic Milk Producers, Northeast Pasture Consortium, Maine Sustainable Ag. Society, and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

Ben Beale, Extension Educator-Agricultural Sciences, University of Maryland Extension. bio

Ben Beale currently serves as the Extension Educator for Agricultural Sciences with the University of Maryland Extension office in St. Mary’s County. His main programming efforts include assisting growers with vegetable and small fruit production, grain and tobacco production, and alternative crop development. Most recently, he has been involved in the establishment of a local produce auction, transition from MD type to Burley type tobacco production, and establishing a USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer program in Maryland. His current research projects include grape variety evaluation trials, blueberry cultivar evaluation trials, and investigation of soybean vein necrosis virus. Beale holds a BS degree in Agricultural Sciences; a MS degree in Management and Marketing and is a Certified Crop Advisor. Beale grew up on a tobacco and vegetable farm in Southern Maryland and enjoys working on the family farm in his spare time.

Presentations for each speaker start at the below timestamps:

  • Dominic Reisig: 00:04:03
  • Mohamed Khan: 00:33:45
  • Rick Kersbergen: 01:01:55
  • Ben Beale: 01:20:30

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