SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI - The National Corn Growers Association's Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team met this week in San Antonio, Texas, for discussions and updates from industry experts. The consolidated team, formed through a merger at the beginning of the 2011 fiscal year, addressed issues across biotechnology and trade in part looking at the multitude of situations in which biotechnology policies, regulations and approvals can impact trade.

"We were very impressed with the perspective experts provided on how biotechnology and trade interests might fare in this new political landscape," said Chad Blindauer, team chair. "Our committee members were also pleased with how the new team structure allows for deeper discussions in many key areas. This more nuanced understanding of the ways in which issues interact should help us effectively overcome challenges and develop opportunities for today's farmer."

Representatives from the four largest technology providers in corn, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta, addressed new products in the pipeline and the regulatory status of new events close to coming to market. Notably, the presentations covered reduced refuge options coming in the next four to five years. A representative of the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee spoke on the new compliance assurance program and refuge success rates for the 2010 crop.

Experts also presented on a variety of trade issues. Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper updated the team on the current state of Chinese allegations against the U.S. claiming dumping of distillers dried grains. Farm Bureau experts provided perspective on the WTO and a status assessment of the free trade agreements currently facing the 112th Congress. Finally, a representative from the National Milk Producers Federation spoke on the Transpacific Partnership, a multilateral trade agreement in the early stages of development.

NCGA's Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team supports the organization in efforts to maintain and develop grower opportunities by increasing Congressional support for NCGA's international trade agenda, increasing funding for market development programs, supporting biotechnology availability, marketability and acceptance around the world while protecting the integrity of U.S. corn and education on these subjects.

"With numerous new products in the pipeline and three major free trade agreements facing the 112th Congress, our team faces multiple situations that could impact the profitability of the average grower," Blindauer said. "Drawing upon the deeper understanding we gained this week both through speakers and discussions, we feel ready to tackle these challenges in a thoughtful and comprehensive, yet still energetic, manner."

SOURCE: National Corn Growers Association