The National Corn Growers Association commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable, Ecological, Consistent, Uniform, Responsible, Efficient (SECURE) rule, which will modernize and update the way in which biotechnology is regulated under the Plant Protection Act. In doing so, the SECURE rule comprehensively revises USDA’s regulations since first established in 1987, providing a modern framework to better address the innovations in and challenges facing modern agriculture.
The availability of new technology plays a vital role in helping farmers enhance the sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of agricultural production – benefits that ripple beyond the farm gate to the rural economy and consumers. These innovative tools allow farmers to produce a healthy crop and adapt to the many challenges presented by climate change, while constantly mitigating their environmental impact. NCGA shares USDA’s commitment to a clear, science-based and transparent regulatory environment that supports the growth in innovative technologies in U.S. agriculture and fulfills its obligations as set forth in President Trump’s June 2019 Executive Order. NCGA also encourages close alignment between USDA, EPA and FDA as the agencies continue to modernize their respective components of the regulatory framework for agricultural biotechnology.
The final SECURE rule streamlines the regulatory processes biotech developers must use to bring products to market. USDA broadly regulates organisms created through “genetic engineering,” however certain categories of genetically engineered organisms will now not require regulatory review. These categories include new plants with crop-trait combinations already reviewed and approved by USDA and plants with traits developed through genetic engineering that could have been achieved through conventional breeding processes. For those plants not falling into one of these two categories, USDA offers new streamlined processes for regulatory review and approval. Most components of the rule go into effect in 90 days.
“NCGA weighed in with USDA throughout the development of this regulation to ensure the impact on corn farmers and their customers were considered in the final rule through the submission of comments in August 2019 and farmer testimony,” said Kevin Ross, NCGA president. “We appreciate USDA’s open process and consideration of our feedback in the final rule.”