In comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week, American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser urged the Department to take both a practical and a scientific approach to enhancing agricultural coexistence. He also urged USDA to consider the already extensive work on coexistence underway in the industry.
In Gaesser’s comments, ASA, which provided separate recommendations to USDA both as part of the AC21 Committee and as a member of the AgBiotech Alliance, reinforced its position that “there is no real evidence that current efforts to achieve coexistence between neighboring producers are not working” and pointed to the failure of the AC21 Committee to identify any data that shows contamination between IP, conventional and organic farming has occurred or is a significant problem warranting additional steps beyond enhanced communication and education.
”Farmers of many kinds of different cropping systems have a long and successful history of coexistence,” Gaesser commented. “Some farmers grow crops for high-quality seed production, some grow specialty varieties within conventional crops, some grow ornamentals or vegetables, and others grow non-GMO and organic crops. All require that the grower hoping to raise one of these premium crops take prudent management steps and communicate with neighbors. We’ve seen no data to suggest that such management and communication isn’t working.”
ASA’s full comments may be downloaded here.