This week, the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association convened a key industry stakeholders dialogue forum about ways to improve cooperation and communication on biotechnology and trade issues.

The discussions highlighted a broad array of opportunities to establish improved, more transparent communication regarding issues that potentially threaten the development, production or delivery of products derived from modern crop biotechnology.

"We are encouraged that all parts of the biotech value chain are committed to cooperative discussions that ensure growers have the tools they need to deliver a reliable product that meets our customers' needs," said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman.

Attendees discussed challenges and opportunities from both a domestic and international viewpoint. It was noted that agricultural biotechnology is becoming an increasingly critical component of our nation's “bioeconomy.” Representatives throughout the value chain noted the importance of maintaining a consistent dialogue and speaking with a unified voice in the United States and abroad.

In February 2012, NCGA, ASA, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the American Seed Trade Association, the North American Export Grain Association and the National Grain and Feed Association entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on improving communication throughout the value chain on biotechnology and trade issues. Since that time, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, and U.S. Grains Council have also become signatories to the MOU.