(Posted Tue. Dec 3rd, 2013)

Dec. 2: The founding organizations of a broad-based group known as the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance today announced that Dr. Michael J. Phillips has been selected as its first secretariat to spearhead collaborative efforts to improve the environment for technology innovation and the market for U.S. crops produced through modern biotechnology.


Established under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2012, the USBCA already has developed and is working to implement consensus positions on key policy issues designed to improve the introduction, stewardship, domestic and international regulatory policy, and distribution in U.S. and export markets of commodities and processed products containing or derived from modern biotechnology.


In his capacity as secretariat, Phillips will be the focal point of the group’s efforts to further advance the reach, work and wide range of activities being pursued under the expanding broad-based national initiative that currently consists of 11 influential national organizations representing U.S. biotechnology providers; seed, grain and oilseed producers; grain handlers, feed manufacturers, grain processors and millers; exporters; and other end-users.   The secretariat also will serve a key role in helping develop and implement consensus positions on specific policy issues.


Phillips is president of MJ Phillips and Associates LLC, an agricultural consulting firm that specializes in agricultural biotechnology issues.  Throughout his career, he has been active in providing leadership and advice on agricultural biotechnology to U.S. and foreign governments, as well academic institutions and all sectors of the agricultural biotechnology value chain.


Prior to establishing his consulting business, Phillips was vice president for science and regulatory policy for food and agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, where he was responsible for developing and implementing policy on the science, regulatory, compliance, stewardship and trade implications of agricultural biotechnology.  Among other things, he assisted technology providers in developing consensus positions on complex issues, and was responsible for facilitating outreach to producer, industry and other stakeholders, as well as to Congress and government agencies.  While with BIO, he also worked with the biotech value chain in advocating establishment of a U.S. and global low-level presence policy for shipments of biotech-enhanced traits that have successfully completed thorough scientific reviews for product and environmental safety in one or more countries, while still undergoing such governmental review in other countries.


Phillips also served as director of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources at the National Academy of Sciences, where his duties included overseeing studies on a wide range of topics, including agricultural biotechnology, conducted by the NAS at the request of the federal government.  In addition, he previously was director of the food and agriculture program at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, where he developed and directed policy studies for congressional committees, including several on agricultural biotechnology.


Prior to his industry and government service, Phillips served on the faculty at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and was a senior staff member in the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.


Phillips received his undergraduate degree with distinction in agricultural economics and animal science from The Ohio State University, and his Master of Science and doctorate degrees in food and agricultural policy from OSU and Purdue, respectively.  An Ohio native, he grew up on his family’s grain and dairy farm in northwest Ohio, and remains involved in managing the farm’s grain operation.