Groups reconfirm commitment to biotech wheat

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Sixteen organizations in the Australia, Canada and the United States representing producers and millers together publicly confirmed support for innovation in wheat, including the future commercialization of biotechnology. The statement, which lays out shared commitments for the responsible advancement of biotech traits and other breeding advancements in wheat, comes five years after an original document was signed. This new pledge welcomes the addition of broad-based groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union to a wide coalition of wheat organizations in the three countries.

The signatories call for further innovation in research as wheat represents about 20 percent of human calorie intake, making it an essential part of the global diet and critical to food security. As demand increases, they state, wheat supplies must remain abundant while meeting the highest quality and nutrition standards. Advanced breeding and biotechnology will help protect the continued availability of wheat foods and “ultimately offers the promise of improved products, more sustainable production and environmental benefits,” according to the statement.

The groups also encourage the governments of wheat producing and importing countries to maintain sound, science-based regulatory systems as well as to adopt reasonable low level presence policies to minimize trade disruptions. For the same reason, the groups stated they will work toward the goal of synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in wheat in the three countries. Similarly, they reiterate that customer choice is paramount: “We stand ready to assist all industry segments to assure supplies of non-biotech wheat within reasonable commercial tolerances to markets that require it.”

Bob Stallman, president, American Farm Bureau Federation, said, "The American Farm Bureau Federation is proud to be among the 16 forward-looking organizations from the U.S., Canada and Australia united in ensuring wheat supplies remain abundant, while meeting the highest quality and nutrition standards.  Representing about 20 percent of human calorie intake, wheat is an essential part of the global diet and critical to food security.

“Unfortunately, wheat production is on a downward trend around the world because net returns per acre often favor other crops. Wheat demand could very well outstrip the supply in the not-so-distant future.  As such, further innovation in research and biotechnology is key to realizing the promise of improved products, more sustainable production and environmental benefits.

“AFBF supports the effort to synchronize the commercialization of biotech traits in wheat. While acknowledging the importance of commercializing biotech wheat to ensure farmers can meet worldwide demand, we are equally adamant that customer choice is paramount. Where there is demand for non-biotech wheat, we will work to see it is met.

“In addition, we are urging the governments of wheat growing and importing countries to maintain sound, science-based regulatory systems, as well as to adopt reasonable low-level presence policies to keep trade flowing.”

U.S. organizations signing onto the statement include:

  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • National Association of Wheat Growers
  • National Farmers Union
  • North American Millers’ Association
  • U.S. Wheat Associates

Canadian signatories:

  • Canadian National Millers Association
  • Cereals Canada
  • Grain Farmers of Ontario
  • Grain Growers of Canada
  • Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association

Australian signatories:

  • AgForce Queensland
  • Grain Growers Limited
  • Grain Producers Australia
  • Grain Producers SA
  • Pastoral and Graziers Association of Western Australia
  • Victorian Farmers Federations Grains Group

Click here to view the full statement or visit www.uswheat.org/biotechnology.


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