First U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance board meeting held

Last week, the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, held its inaugural board meeting in Washington. The culmination of years of effort, USBCA members elected a formal executive committee and adopted its Business Plan and Operating Structure during the meeting.

The original Executive Committee was expanded in the formation of the official structure to include additional representation for growers and representation for processors.

The 2014-2015 Executive Committee now includes eight: Barry Bushue, American Farm Bureau Federation; Andrew LaVigne, American Seed Trade Association; Steve Censky, American Soybean Association; Cathleen Enright, Biotechnology Industry Organization; Rick Tolman, National Corn Growers Association; Tom Hammer, National Oilseed Producers Association; Gary Martin, North American Export Grain Association; and Tom Sleight, U.S. Grains Council.

Through the business plan, USBCA formalized its overarching goal: "Improve the environment for technology innovation and the market for U.S agricultural products."

Additionally, the plan formalized the mission statement: "Successfully execute USBCA plans by coordinating and informing U.S. value chain efforts that encourage policy and commercial practices affecting the development, purchase, marketing and shipment of agricultural products derived from biotechnology."

The two main working groups within the organization, the International Working Group and the Domestic Working Group, plan to meet in June and July respectively to continue work towards agreement on principles moving forward under the business plan.

Established under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2012, the USBCA already has developed and is working to implement consensus positions on key policy issues designed to improve the introduction, stewardship, domestic and international regulatory policy, and distribution in U.S. and export markets of commodities and processed products containing or derived from modern biotechnology.

The USBCA's founding organizations are the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, American Seed Trade Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, National Grain and Feed Association, and North American Export Grain Association.

Other national organizations that subsequently have become participants in the USBCA include American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Oilseed Processors Association, North American Millers' Association, United Sorghum Checkoff Program, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Soybean Export Council.