Winning the War Against Weeds Takes a Serious Strategy

(Posted Fri. Jan 24th, 2020)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Ok, let’s be honest, the last thing you want to think about this time of year are the weeds you will battle in the growing season ahead. But the truth is preparing for the weed pressures and building a management plan that is robust, as well as flexible, is every bit as important to your success as trait selection and nutrient planning. It’s about giving your crops a competitive advantage against weeds, delaying the evolution of herbicide resistance and preserving herbicide technology.   You should craft your weed management plan with the notion that it can and should influence multiple growing seasons. Long-term herbicide-resistance management requires an outlook that goes beyond minimizing crop loss in any one season to understanding how your strategy this year can also set you up for success in subsequent years. It requires long-term strategies focused on delaying the evolution of herbicide resistance and reducing weed seed in your fields.   Effective herbicide-resistance...

Engaging with Government Partners to Find New Uses for Corn

(Posted Thu. Dec 5th, 2019)

Keywords: Biotechnology

National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) staff and grower leaders will travel to Washington, D.C. next week for meetings on new uses for corn. Meetings are scheduled with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at their Beltsville, Maryland facility where staff will discuss projects related to research corn utilization for biobased products and chemicals, including a new project at the Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania facility.   Updates will also be provided on the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research’s project on amylose inclusion complexes, which was a winner of Consider Corn Challenge II. Their project plans to use emulsifiers, polymer films and coatings made from corn starch and vegetable oil rather than petroleum, which could open the door to new products with enhanced performance and lower environmental footprints. Other visits will include meetings with the Department of Energy (DOE) and USDA Rural...

(Posted Wed. Sep 4th, 2019)

Keywords: Biotechnology Glyphosate Production

NCGA Supports EPA’s Interim Decision on Glyphosate Registration   The NCGA recently submitted comments in support of U.S. EPA’s proposed interim registration review decision for glyphosate. EPA is required to review pesticide registrations every 15 years to comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), but may choose to issue interim decisions as needed to account for completed risk assessments and the availability of new data.   “The introduction of chemical herbicides during the second half of the 20th century transformed modern agriculture. Glyphosate, in particular, revolutionized weed control and facilitated the use of no-till practices, which have reduced topsoil erosion and improved soil health,” said Lynn Chrisp, NCGA president from Nebraska. “It is one of the most widely used and comprehensively evaluated herbicides and we appreciate the EPA’s recognition of the sound science behind this product in its interim review decision.”   In the...

(Posted Mon. Aug 5th, 2019)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the Proposed Rule regarding Movement of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms. The submission voiced support for the proposed rule while also offering several suggestions that would strengthen the final rule. The proposed rule marks the first comprehensive revision of USDA’s regulations since they were established in 1987.   Corn farmers have a strong interest in the availability of new technologies to enhance the sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of U.S. agriculture. Agriculture biotechnology and next generation breeding techniques allow growers to increase yields while decreasing inputs. Meeting demand, improving processes and minimizing environmental impacts are what make modern corn production a dynamic industry. The proposed rule, in large part, demonstrates an underlying agreement with the basis of NCGA’s stance and strives to create a more efficient...

NCGA Applauds Administrations Efforts to Further Ag Biotech, Streamline Regulation

(Posted Wed. Jun 12th, 2019)

Keywords: Biotechnology Farm Policy

The National Corn Growers Association applauded the Administration after President Donald Trump signed the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order yesterday. This important declaration will streamline the approval process for agricultural products produced through biotechnology while reinforcing the move toward a product and not process-based approach.   The order promotes a science- and risk-based program that will lay out a clear, predictable and efficient regulatory framework. This will offer cost savings to technology developers, open the pipeline for product approval to a larger sphere and allow farmers more rapid access to the tools that they need in the field.   This order also furthers policies important to farmers by expanding markets by urging USDA, along with USTR and the Department of State, to work with our trade partners abroad to synchronize approval processes internationally and help remove barriers to trade...

(Posted Thu. Dec 20th, 2018)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Key agricultural and farm groups today praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) public release of the final rule implementing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.   Designed to inform consumers about the presence of bioengineered genetic material in their food for marketing purposes, USDA’s disclosure standard stands firmly with science in that it validates the fact that there is no health, safety or nutritional difference between bioengineered crops and comparable conventional or organic crops. This is a position held by nearly every major national and international scientific and health organization, including the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization.   “America’s corn farmers need a consistent, transparent system to provide consumers with information without stigmatizing important, safe technology. Thus, we are pleased with the issuance of these rules and look forward to reviewing the...

(Posted Thu. Nov 8th, 2018)

Keywords: Biotechnology Trade

Agricultural innovation continues to develop rapidly, benefiting farmers who are able to grow more and better crops using fewer inputs and natural resources. As governments around the world work to determine how to regulate these ever-evolving technologies, MAIZALL, the international maize alliance, is encouraging countries to adopt science-based policies to prevent disruptions to trade.   MAIZALL was formed in January 2013 by the corn growers associations in Argentina, Brazil and the United States to work together to tackle global market access barriers related to the introduction of new technologies in agriculture, particularly biotechnology. The alliance focuses on three areas: communicating the benefits of modern agricultural production methods and technologies, addressing asynchronous approval of biotech products and promoting regulatory harmonization.   During an October mission to Geneva and Rome, a group of MAIZALL leaders met with World Trade Organization (WTO) and...

(Posted Tue. Aug 28th, 2018)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Last week, the National Corn Growers Association hosted a Chinese agricultural delegation for an informative presentation and discussions about the U.S. corn crop, the association’s programs and an overview of the U.S. agricultural environment in relation to biotechnology, advanced breeding techniques and market opportunities. The group, organized by Bayer, included this year’s Chinese Academy of Sciences Fellows, who specialize in areas from functional genomics to characterizing novel circadian components in plants.   “While NCGA hosts a number of teams interested in biotechnology and the corn crop outlook, this breadth of topics in which this team showed interest was somewhat unique,” said NCGA Director of Market Development Jim Bauman. “Working together, our staff was able to provide them with insight into a number of sectors which influence U.S. corn production and markets.”   Following an in-depth examination of NCGA’s history, mission and structure, the team had an...

(Posted Tue. Jul 3rd, 2018)

Keywords: biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association today provided feedback to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service as the Agency finalizes the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The feedback, which came in the form of comments submitted directly by NCGA, comments submitted by a broader coalition of ag-focused organizations and a set jointly submitted by the entire Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, aims to help come to a final solution that is beneficial to consumers, farmers and food manufacturers, while preserving the original Congressional intent.   NCGA’s direct comments emphasized the association’s overriding concern that some of the options being considered could potentially harm U.S. agriculture and stifle American farming innovation. Above all else, the comments call upon AMS to ensure that the NBFDS is a marketing standard, not a health, safety or nutritional standard.    “Corn growers are striving to increase transparency in corn...

(Posted Thu. Jun 21st, 2018)

Keywords: biotechnology

The National Agricultural Genotyping Center, launched with the assistance of the National Corn Growers Association, marks its two-year anniversary today and it does so with a significant list of accomplishments in both facilitating research and solving problems for farmers.   NAGC’s mission is to translate scientific discoveries, such as the information from the multiple crop genome projects, into solutions for production agriculture, food safety, functional foods, bioenergy and national security.   “We’re proud of the accomplishments of NAGC to date to solve problems concerning farmers and the public,” said NAGC Board Chairman Bob Bowman. “Ongoing projects related to early identification of plant diseases, more efficient ethanol production and solving the riddle of honey bee colony collapse are clearly delineating the NAGC’s role as a service-oriented facility. Efforts are underway to expand these unique services to other crops and the livestock industry.”   Bowman notes the...

(Posted Wed. May 30th, 2018)

Keywords: biotechnology

America’s farmers’ access to biotechnology seeds has been impeded by regulatory delays in China, costing the overall U.S. economy both jobs and billions of dollars in economic output, according to a study released today by Informa’s Agribusiness Consulting Group in tandem with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.   “This report further confirms something that we have already known: China’s biotech approval process has functioned in an unpredictable manner that compounds delays and has global ramifications,” said Don Duvall, a farmer from Illinois and Chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Freedom to Operate Action Team . “For American agriculture to achieve its full potential, farmers need access to both the most cutting-edge technologies as well as to international markets.”   More timely biotech import approvals would benefit China, as well as ag exporters such as the United States, Argentina and Brazil, by increasing food security and decreasing food prices...

Statement by the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food on the Publication of USDA’s Proposed Rule for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard

(Posted Fri. May 4th, 2018)

Keywords: biotechnology

“The proposed rule published today by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is a critical step towards establishing a National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard by the July 29, 2018 deadline. We want to sincerely thank Secretary Perdue, Under Secretary Ibach, and the Agriculture Marketing Service team for their diligence to get this critically important proposed rule published. The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food remains committed to a standard that gives consumers access to information about the food they purchase; ensures that farmers continue to have the tools they need to feed a growing world population; and provides certainty to food manufacturers, retailers and others in the supply chain.   “Over 1,100 national, state, and local organizations representing the food and agriculture value chain supported enactment of the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act, because it prevented a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws, that would have cost U.S. consumers, farmers and...

NCGA Praises USDA for Taking Science-Based Stance on New Product Regulation

(Posted Thu. Apr 5th, 2018)

Keywords: biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association praised the announcement made last week by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue publicly stating that the U.S. Department of Agriculture“ does not regulate or have plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests.”   This announcement shows the dedication of the USDA to develop common-sense regulatory solutions which are strongly based in science. By recognizing the way in which new technologies work and creating processes that ensure safety, our government allows farmers access to the tools necessary to combat ever-changing field conditions and improve the health of their crop.   We are pleased to see our government strive to unencumber the economy from the chains of costly, unnecessary over-regulation. By taking this stance, the USDA has put our government in a leadership position on how this technology can be...

(Posted Wed. Jan 10th, 2018)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Southern corn growers will pull their planters out of the shed and into the field in only a few short weeks. Bt corn will be planted on millions of acres across the South, protecting plants from damaging insects like corn borer and corn earworm. But to ensure that the technology remains effective, farmers in cotton-growing areas must plant a structured refuge alongside their Bt corn.   “Planting a refuge is the single most important thing we can do to keep Bt traits working for years to come,” said Chad Wetzel, a farmer from Tom Bean, Texas, and member of the National Corn Growers Association Freedom to Operate Action Team. “If we lose Bt technology as a defense against insects, growing corn will change dramatically.”   Southern corn growers must plant their fields to include either a 20 or 50 percent refuge, depending on the Bt hybrid planted. The purpose of planting a refuge area is to prevent pests from developing resistance to the Bt technology. That refuge ensures that the...

(Posted Thu. Jul 27th, 2017)

Keywords: Trade Biotechnology

Farmers attending last week’s National Corn Growers Association Corn Congress called for faster access to new biotechnology-enhanced crop traits.  The move reflects growing frustration among NCGA members over excessive regulatory delays in the international marketplace.   “Farmers recognize that a strong, science-based, regulatory system is essential to reassure consumers about the safety and quality of our crops,” said Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas and NCGA president.  “At the same time, when it takes four to six years, or more, to secure regulatory approvals in certain markets, it is clear that a country’s regulatory system is broken.”   The NCGA’s new policy supports the commercialization of new biotechnology-enhanced corn traits that: a) have been approved by the U.S. and Japan; and b) have faced delays of more than 30 months from any government with a non-functioning regulatory system.  By comparison, there are biotechnology traits that have been awaiting...

(Posted Tue. Jun 13th, 2017)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association brought the voice of farmers into important conversations on U.S. biotechnology regulations during the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service public comment meeting held at the University of California, Davis, earlier today. This session, which was the second of three, offered the opportunity to personally provide input on the part 340 proposed rule that would modify the science-based federal regulatory framework that regulates genetically engineered organisms use in agriculture.   NCGA Past president Leon Corzine and Freedom to Operate Action Team Vice Chair Brandon Hunnicutt both spoke during the meeting, providing insight into the impact such regulations have upon farmers. Drawing upon firsthand experience with the importance of biotech tools, they stressed the value farmers place on regulatory efficiency and transparency in a system based solidly in science. The farmer leaders then urged officials...

Tune In! CommonGround Volunteer Talks GMOs with Bill Nye

(Posted Fri. Apr 21st, 2017)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Binge watching and GMO-centric conversations come together today as Netflix premiers the first season of Bill Nye Saves the World. The show, which became available at 4 a.m. CDT today, features a panel discussion on the use of GMO technology in agriculture that includes CommonGround volunteer Julie Kenney in episode four “More Food, Less Hype.”   The episode looks at the science behind and fear surrounding biotechnology in agriculture. Presenting the scientific case for GMOs safety and importance as a tool for farmers, Nye explores the topic through interviews, experiments and the panel, which also includes Monsanto CTO Dr. Rob Fraley and North Carolina State University professor Dr. Fred Gould.   While the GMOs are not presented as the only, or even most important tool, it does address many misconceptions about GMOs, pesticide use, environmental impacts and the greater implications for the ecosystem. Stressing the importance of facts and not fear, this upbeat look at an...

(Posted Fri. Feb 10th, 2017)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Members of the National Corn Growers Association’s Freedom to Operate Action Team met in Tampa, Florida last week to review programs, budgets and policies associated with the association’s work in areas such as crop inputs, data and biotechnology. While there, the team met with representatives from across the value chain to explore upcoming challenges and opportunities.    Looking at a variety of issues, including goals set out in NCGA’s strategic plan can be achieved, the team used their in-depth knowledge of the subject matter to develop the nuanced, strategic suggestions needed to help the Corn Board guide NCGA policy effectively.   “Over my years working with both NCGA and our Illinois state corn association, I have come to truly appreciate the breadth and scope of the multitude of issues facing farmers today,” said Team Chair Don Duvall, a farmer from Illinois. “By developing teams with specialization in major areas of opportunity and taking the time to analyze the issues...

(Posted Wed. Jan 18th, 2017)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published documents today addressing the pre-market regulatory oversight of biotechnology-based agricultural tools. The National Corn Growers Association is pleased that the agency has included input given by NCGA and others throughout the rule-making process while focusing on the importance of science-based regulations.   Corn farmers have a strong interest in the availability of new technologies to enhance the sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of U.S. agriculture. Agriculture biotechnology and next generation breeding techniques allow growers to increase yields while decreasing inputs. Meeting demand, improving processes and minimizing environmental impacts are what make modern corn production a dynamic industry. The documents published indicate that, in large part, federal agencies agree with the basis of our stance and strive to create a more efficient regulatory process allowing...

(Posted Thu. Dec 8th, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology

The National Corn Growers Association was pleased with today’s release of “A Framework for Local Coexistence Discussions.” This document, produced by the USDA’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture (AC21), provides guidance on improving communications and ensuring the future success of the American system of agricultural coexistence.   For the full report, click here.   NCGA applauds the work of AC21 and recognizes the important role such cross-industry groups can play in achieving successful outcomes without the creation of unnecessary regulation.  Through this dialogue, many stakeholders involved in diverse agricultural production systems came together to better identify ways to foster communication and collaboration to further agricultural coexistence.   Furthermore, NCGA supports Secretary Vilsack’s attentive consideration of the issue of coexistence and his steady work to see this through to completion.   The continued coexistence of different...

(Posted Thu. Dec 8th, 2016)

Keywords: Biotechnology

Today, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology released a report and literature review looking at problems caused by the current system of asynchronous approvals for biotech crops. The paper focuses on the economic effects in countries that are major global commodity exporters and importers. Overall, it concludes that asynchrony in the global approval of new biotech crops and the resultant risk of low level presence puts large volumes of trade worth billions of dollars at risk.   The increasing disparity in the biotech product approval timelines between exporting countries that utilize new technologies and large grain importing countries, in particular, is a significant and growing impediment to trade, specifically in the European Union and China.   As Task Force Chair Dr. Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes said, “How the world’s regulatory systems operate in the area of biotech crops is critically important to producers and consumers.”   The paper shares research...