USSEC recently participated in the American Soybean Association (ASA) Biotech Working Group. The group met earlier this month in the Minneapolis area to discuss the most pressing issues facing biotechnology and how these challenges impact farming and the soybean industry.
The meeting began with a presentation providing a current overview of world soybean markets, growth markets and projections by Thomas Mielke, editor and chief executive officer with Oil World and USSEC CEO Jim Sutter. Following this presentation, Paul Spencer, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), provided an update on the Global Low Level Presence Initiative and China 100-days plan. ASA Washington representative Renee Munasifi updated the group on ASA’s responses to USDA questions regarding the Biotech Disclosure Law.
Immediately following the meeting, Syngenta representatives hosted the group for dinner and a tour of the Syngenta Seedcare Institute the next morning in Stanton, Minnesota. Biotech Working Group members who attended the meeting included several farmer-leaders and staff members from USSEC, ASA, and the United Soybean Board (USB), as well as industry executives from several companies representing the leading technology providers in agriculture.
A significant amount of time at the meeting was also spent discussing recent concerns over dicamba-related damage to crops. The Biotech Working Group meeting provided another opportunity for farmers to continue ongoing discussions with companies selling dicamba-based products. ASA is also coordinating with USB and checkoffs at the state level to draw on the data generated by their research into crop damage, as well as working alongside state departments of agriculture and land-grant universities as they investigate to understand what has happened in each specific incident and why.
The Biotech Working Group provides a consultative forum for the soy biotech industry to meet with key soybean industry and grower leadership on a consistent basis. The forum provides grower leaders the opportunity to review the progress of individual company traits, engage in dialogue and provide feedback along with the needed support and advocacy to advance approvals for new technologies.