Whether it’s easing the burdens of an American farmer so he has time to watch his child play sports, helping an African farmer gain sufficient yield to feed her family and send her kids to school or using plants to produce life-saving drugs, Horan recognizes the wide-ranging value of these innovative crops.
“The biggest benefit of biotech is improving plants and animals for our lives,” says Horan, a fourth-generation farmer who works with his brother, Joe. “Yields have increased and we’re better able to battle the elements, weeds, pests, and viruses. Healthier plants have meant greater yields, which has translated to more income for me and other biotech farmers. In the future, biotechnology will take what Mother Nature gives us and make it better for the world.”
Horan recalls that when he first started in farming 43 years ago, it was standard practice to use large amounts of broad-based herbicides and pesticides. “Today’s technologies are safer and cleaner for the environment and for farmers,” Horan says. “If all farmers used biotechnology the world would have a safer, more plentiful, environmentally friendly food supply.”
Though the Horans have always loved producing food, in 2001 they were among the first to grow genetically modified crops that produce proteins used in pharmaceuticals, such as treatments for patients with cystic fibrosis. “Producing drugs to help ease human suffering is even more rewarding,” he says.