Members of the ASA Action Partnership met last week in Washington to discuss labeling of products containing genetically modified ingredients and the possibilities and implications of "big data," or the data generated through advances in precision agriculture technology.

These are two critical issues on the minds not only of soybean farmers, but of their industry partners as well. The ASAAP comprises representatives from multiple partner companies, including technology providers, equipment manufacturers and others, combined with soybean organizations at the state, regional and national levels.

Following a presentation from Barry Bewley of Illinois-based technology consultancy CropIMS, Bewley joined Monsanto's Michael Dykes, AGCO's Aguimar de Souza and Matt Erickson of the American Farm Bureau Federation led an open discussion with members of the group on the latest developments on the technology and data stewardship front, including an update from each panelist on his organization's respective approach to the privacy and security issues surrounding big data.

Grocery Manufacturers Association Government Affairs Executive Vice President Louis Finkel then updated the group on the progress of the Coalition for Safe, Affordable Food. ASA is an original member of the coalition, which supports a voluntary federal standard for labeling foods with genetically modified ingredients that would avoid the confusion of multiple and conflicting state regulations.

To close the night, members of the ASAAP joined with their counterparts on the National Corn Growers Association's Agri-Industry Council for a reception and dinner featuring political commentator and Washington Post columnist Mark Schwartz.

The ASAAP will gather later in the year at its annual summer meeting.