(Posted Tue. Sep 16th, 2014)

Ohio corn grower John Linder, a member of the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team, testified before  a committee of the National Research Council (NRC) on the importance of innovation and biotechnology to agricultural production during  a hearing Monday. The hearing, which was held in Washington, was part of a broader review of crop biotechnology.


“Farmers take pride in producing food not only for American families but also for our own,” Linder testified. “Modern biotechnology provides American farmers with safe and sustainable ways to protect our crops, allowing us to continue producing the safest, most reliable food supply in the world.”


Linder, who grows both genetically modified and non-genetically modified crops, spoke with committee members about the impact he had personally witnessed growing biotech crops on his farm.


“We are dry land farmers. I can say with confidence that my dad would be shocked at the production we get in years where we have minimal rainfall,” Linder explained.  “Genetics and biotechnology have had a big impact on water usage and the use of herbicides. We really do practice sustainability.”


Linder was the only farmer to provide testimony. Other speakers voiced concern about the need for an independent government review of GMO crops, weed and insect resistance to GMO crops, cross-contamination of GMO and non-GMO fields, and consolidation of global seed supply.


Linder noted that biotechnology will play a significant role in feeding the growing world population.


“If we really are going to have the population growth expected, we need these products to get us there so that we can meet the world’s needs. I think biotech is going to be key to that.”


The NRC is the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, a Congressionally-chartered nonprofit providing science, technology and health policy advice to the government. The GMO study is partially sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will be completed in 2016.


Committee members working on the study include scientists specializing in ecology, genetics and crop health from several public universities, as well as experts from nongovernmental organizations including the International Food Policy Research Institute and The Nature Conservancy.