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Accepted Paper:

Is precision fermentation a farmers' thing?  
Mariana Hase Ueta (Wageningen University and Research) Zoë Robaey (Wageningen University)

Short abstract:

This presentation aims to discuss the perspective of Dutch dairy farmers regarding innovation and change in their production practices in response to environmental concerns, especially in the face of the emergence of Precision Fermentation technologies.

Long abstract:

Precision Fermentation, as an emerging food technology, promises to offer solutions to well-known food systems problems, such as environmental impact and ethical issues. However, the introduction of this novel mode of production, which offers a molecularly similar end-product as milk, also challenges the current means of dairy and meat production, especially for dairy farmers and their livelihoods. While these products are not yet on the European market, academic discussions and media reports have been focusing on the potential carried by these technologies. Even though the consequences for different stakeholders have been increasingly considered in the anticipatory discussions, the consequences to be faced by farmers are usually only speculated and neglected. In this presentation, we focus on the perspectives of dairy farmers in the Netherlands towards the development of Precision Fermentation dairy. Interviews with family farms were conducted in 2022, and they show that while the farmers are open to innovation and see the need to change their farming practices in the face of the new ecological moment, they also feel vulnerable and insecure regarding planning long-term transformations due to the new environment-led policies of the Dutch government. When discussing the introduction of new technologies, we could also shed light on what they were interested in adopting and what would be non-negotiable issues in their life as farmers. Transitions to more sustainable and just food systems should be inclusive and embrace the perspectives of different stakeholders that are going to be impacted by the introduction of new technologies.

Traditional Open Panel P210
Digital technologies in food and agriculture: merging STS with Critical Agrifood Studies
  Session 3 Tuesday 16 July, 2024, -