Yesterday we had our EPA hearing for the two biocontrol agents for horehound.
Eight of the 40 submitters asked to speak at the hearing: one was the opposing submission from a herbal medicine company, and the others were submissions in favour of the application. Presentations were a mix of in-person and on a video link, enabling presenters from further away to participate, which was greatly appreciated.
The presentations from submitters in favour were absolutely outstanding. The stories were both informative and engaging, and were told with captivating passion. As the day progressed, there were consistent themes repeating in all presentation, yet each presenter also added a unique layer, and slowly slowly the picture built in the minds of the Decision Making Committee became rounded and complete.
As much as the presentation from the opposing party was compelling, their argument is unlikely to tip the balance. The line of questioning towards both sides demonstrated that the Committee members understood that farmers are out of options, whereas there are options to preserve patches of horehound for medicinal harvest under biocontrol.
All of you who took the time to write submissions, and to present at the hearing – we can’t thank you enough. You are true heroes. We are confident that you have convinced the Committee that the biocontrol agents can’t come soon enough.
Now, there is a little bit more waiting – up to six more weeks before we find out the outcome. We should know by the end of September.
A trip to collect the first agent is already in the making, so that if (when!) we get the green light, we are ready to shift into gear.
Once again – THANK YOU!
Ronny & Gavin
You can find previous updates by checking the Horehound BioControl page.
|Dr Ronny Groenteman
Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research
Phone: +64 3 321 9904
|Gavin (Snow) Loxton
PO Box 9
Lake Tekapo 7945