(Posted Wed. Sep 7th, 2011)
Sept. 7: Today, the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association brought together key industry stakeholders to start a discussion about how to best begin construction of a framework for addressing biotech events and impacts on end use markets.
Acknowledging that all parts of the value chain share a common goal of an uninterrupted flow of corn, soybeans and technology, attendees shared ideas and insights on finding a solution to disruptions that could potentially impact growers.
NCGA CEO Rick Tolman opened the meeting welcoming farmers, members of the grain trade, association staff, biotechnology firm leadership and others from the grain and oilseed trade with a reminder of both the importance and scope of this discussion. In his remarks, Tolman reinforced that NCGA and ASA chose to host this meeting to provide the entire industry with an open space in which to find ways to improve communication.
Following Tolman’s remarks, NCGA President Bart Schott addressed the conference on the organizations’ goals for the dialogue. In doing so, he noted that each party plays a role in on-farm profitability and, as such, a valuable one for growers across the country. He stressed the importance of recognizing one another’s strengths and working collaboratively to build a bright future.
“As we grow to understand the variety of situations each party brings to the table, we can ultimately construct a framework that will allow us to address events which could disrupt markets and better position ourselves to capture opportunities,” said Schott.
Following Schott, ASA President Alan Kemper then provided remarks from his organization highlighting many past instances in which communication and cooperation on biotechnology issues allowed the soybean industry to find creative solutions and, ultimately, avoid market disruptions.
Next, both organizations presented their current policies concerning the adoption of new biotechnology traits, with NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Chad Blindauer representing NCGA and ASA CEO Steve Censky speaking on behalf of his organization.
The conference provided insight into the specific concerns and circumstances of stakeholders from various sectors of the industry featuring speakers from trade associations focused on corn and soybean exports, biotechnology trait providers, grain and oilseed traders and other key sectors.
As a segue to final discussions, representatives from the Crop Life International presented the findings of a recent study looking at food chain perspectives on plant biotechnology product stewardship. Through the use of survey-based data, the study looked at how members of these groups represented at the conference and others could develop effective, ongoing communications channels.
Finally, the group discussed potential actions that would aid the industry in obtaining timely regulatory clearances for biotech traits and thus avoid trade disruptions. Attendees shared ideas and began a dialogue on how to best work together on these pressing issues with the group agreeing continue the dialogue following analysis of conference proceedings and determination of the most appropriate next step.