(Posted Thu. Dec 8th, 2016)
The National Corn Growers Association was pleased with today’s release of “A Framework for Local Coexistence Discussions.” This document, produced by the USDA’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture (AC21), provides guidance on improving communications and ensuring the future success of the American system of agricultural coexistence.
For the full report, click here.
NCGA applauds the work of AC21 and recognizes the important role such cross-industry groups can play in achieving successful outcomes without the creation of unnecessary regulation. Through this dialogue, many stakeholders involved in diverse agricultural production systems came together to better identify ways to foster communication and collaboration to further agricultural coexistence.
Furthermore, NCGA supports Secretary Vilsack’s attentive consideration of the issue of coexistence and his steady work to see this through to completion.
The continued coexistence of different cropping systems facilitates grower and consumer choice without undermining innovation, productivity or stewardship of the land. Corn farmers have a strong interest in the availability of new technologies to enhance the sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of U.S. agriculture. Biotechnology allows farmers to increase yields while decreasing inputs. The diversity of cropping systems pursued by U.S. farmers also provide consumers with a wide array of healthy, nutritious choices.
The diversity and dynamism of the U.S. agriculture industry would not be possible but for the past and continuing success of coexistence. The existing U.S. regulatory system has a twenty-five-year track record of thorough and science-based review of agricultural biotechnology products prior to their commercialization.
In 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture established AC21. This committee, which examined the long-term impacts of biotechnology on the U.S. food and agriculture system, included representation from the National Corn Growers Association since its inception.
Under Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, AC21 focused specifically on developing practical recommendations for strengthening coexistence among different agricultural production methods.
AC21 released its Final Report, “Enhancing Coexistence: A Report to the Secretary of Agriculture” in late 2012. USDA published an accompanying fact sheet, “Summary of USDA Efforts to Address Final Recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture” in early 2013.
The report released today is a product of Secretary Vilsack’s call upon AC21 for an updated report which includes a model for convening coexistence discussions at the local level as well as guidance for farmers around the production of identity-preserved crops.