(Posted Tue. Nov 15th, 2011)

Nov. 15: Last week, the National Corn Growers Association met with Dr. Saturnina Halos, a senior agriculture science consultant at the Philippines Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Research, to discuss biotechnology usage in the United States. NCGA staff emphasized the practices in place to ensure safe and responsible use of these improved varieties, also providing information on structured refuge, new refuge-in-a-bag options and farmer attitudes toward compliance.


Marketing staff began the meeting by providing an overview of the organization, its mission and activities to aide Halos in understanding the specific role NCGA plays in the greater U.S. industry and why it does so.


Halos expressed particular interest in NCGA’s involvement with technology providers to ensure the availability of traits and in efforts to ensure farmers use these products responsibly. Expressing concern over farmer attitudes in the Philippines, she sought advice on conveying the importance of refuge compliance.


NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields walked her through the organization’s efforts in this area, including the online Insect Resistance Management Calculator and the Respect the Refuge campaign, following his more generalized presentation on the state of U.S. biotechnology.


“We have made great strides in demonstrating the importance of refuge compliance in the United States,” said Fields. “It is key that we not only continue these efforts but that we also share the knowledge gained through our experiences to help improve compliance globally.”


Halos plays a major role in the adoption and use of biotech crops in the Philippines, advising the government on all issues pertaining to biotech development and regulation. She was accompanied by Dr. Gary Hartnell and Dr. Marsha Stanton, Monsanto’s lead staff for outreach and corn affairs respectively.


For additional information on Halos, click here.