(Posted Thu. Dec 19th, 2013)

Dec. 18: Members of the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance, a collaborative effort to improve the environment for technology innovation and the market for U.S. crops produced through modern biotechnology, met in Washington this week to discuss recent progress and plan for the future. In addition to examining the next steps necessary toward achievement of overall goals, the group invited additional commodities to attend and is considering expanding to include canola, cotton and wheat representation and others in the value chain.


“USBCA represents the culmination of a sustained, targeted effort to ensure better communication throughout the value chain, and it is exciting to be at a point where we can consider even further expanding our scope to benefit an even broader section of U.S. farmers,” said National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman, who attended the meeting along with Corn Board Liaison Kevin Skunes. “In today’s global economy, it is key that each point in our agricultural value chain works in tandem to ensure farmers have access to necessary technology and that we provide our international customers with high quality products. Working together, we can grow a plentiful crop and maintain open markets to supply.”


American Soybean Association CEO Steve Censky kicked off the event with the formal introduction of newly appointed USBCA Secretariat Mike Phillips. Phillips proceeded to lead a discussion of the business plan, which was followed by updates from the international and domestic working groups. On the second day, members reconvened for in-depth discussions on the potential opportunities that lie ahead given advancements in both the international and domestic landscapes.


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.


In addition to NCGA and ASA, the USBCA’s founding organizations are the 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 the American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Soybean Export Council.