Six nations band together for the bio-good

farming freedom.inddSometimes governmental regulations can have a beneficial affect on an industry. Recently, key members of what the American Soybean Association (ASA) calls “the U.S. agricultural value chain,” joined together to praise the work of the U.S. and other like-minded governments in promoting the importance of science-based regulations “to facilitate trade of agricultural commodities derived from agricultural biotechnology.”

The nations, the U.S., Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Paraguay, announced their intention to work collaboratively “to remove global barriers to the trade of agricultural biotechnology and promote science-based, transparent and predictable regulatory approaches,” the ASA said.

The statement was praised by the likes of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), ASA, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), and the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA). The combined groups said they “welcome the leadership of the U.S. government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. State Department, along with their counterparts in the five other signatory nations toward greater collaboration. They will systematically address global barriers to trade of products derived from ag technology.

Timeliness and efficiency of global regulatory systems is a special interest of Americans, the ASA said. In the joint statement, the six governments highlighted their intention “to promote synchronization of authorizations by regulatory agencies,” a sort of let’s all get along approach, especially for “food, feed and processing purposes.”

In addition, the Gang of Six (my words) stated their intention “to collaborate in the development of domestic, regional and international approaches to facilitate the global management of low-level presence of biotechnology-derived commodities that are authorized in one or more countries, but not in the country of import.”

The view is that ag production in the six nations is a major contributor to global food security, no small feat in this security-conscious, but oh-so-dangerous world. Between them, the six provide the vast majority of corn and soybean supply in world markets today. Because of their advancement, the six nations use modern technology, such as plant biotechnology, to provide world consumers with their needs — around the globe.

Noting the importance of “timely and efficient regulatory systems,” the nations will endeavor to work together to promote “synchronization of authorizations” by the various regulatory agencies. A key feature of the statement is its emphasis on research and education. Efforts are necessary, said the signatories, to develop agricultural innovations that lead to new products and strategies that will address global challenges for production of abundant and safe food, feed, fiber and energy in the 21st century. No small matter.

I’ll see ya.


An Iowa native, Peter Graham has been a rural newspaper editor for more than 40 years. He currently edits a twice-weekly paper in Western Iowa. You can contact him at (712) 642-2791 or [email protected] sourivalley