American Corn Growers Association
Over Shortsighted US Biotech Policy
Press Release / ACGA 3jun2003
Devastated Export Markets and Low Crop Prices Linked to Failure to Meet Customer's Requirements
MONTREAL May 30, 2005 — Larry Mitchell, Chief Executive of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) expressed his organization s continued and increased concerns over U.S. policy on the segregation and labeling of genetically modified (GM) corn during the second meeting of the Parties to the Biosafety Protocol which convened in Montreal, Canada today.
ACGA is not here to state a position on the safety or perils that GM crops pose to our food supply or the environment, said Mitchell. But we are here to state that GM crops are hazardous to the health of our export markets as well as the financial security of America s farm families.
The latest analysis of the American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF) thru their Farmer Choice-Customer First program, finds that the loss of our European export market, previously a large, cash-paying export customer for U.S. corn, will cost our farmers over 65 cents per bushel in 2005 because of U.S biotech policy, stated Mitchell. That is a projected loss of over $7 billion in this year s corn crop. More suffering is expected due to losses of export markets for U.S. soybeans and corn gluten. Our major export customers have spoken, both verbally and with their pocketbooks, and they have been quite clear. They do not want GM food in their countries, Mitchell said. But for years the U.S. government has administered a biotech policy that fails to segregate traditional corn from GM corn, fails to label the corn so our customers can make a choice, and even takes our best costumers to court to force them to buy what they have said they do not want.
The Farmer Choice-Customer First program, developed and administered by ACGF, recognizes the uncertainty many farmers are facing over the proliferation of genetically modified crops. Although production agriculture has been generally supportive of agricultural biotechnology, farmers understand that it doesn't help to grow a product that most of our foreign customers refuse to buy. To address the uncertainties over marketability, legal liability, segregation and corporate concentration, Farmer Choice-Customer First provides unbiased, honest and objective information to the nation s corn producers. By having access to this information, farmers can make educated decisions about what varieties of seed to plant and how best to market them.
The bottom line is that U.S. biotech policy has ravaged the bottom line of U.S. farm families, added Mitchell. We will lose another $7 billion from this year's corn crop due to this failed policy. We are also suffering export losses and lower prices for other crops such as soybeans and other corn products such as corn gluten. We lost about the same last year, and have lost markets and money every year since this policy was adopted in the 1990s. U.S. biotech policy must change for the financial health of U.S. farm families.
Farmer Choice-Customer First understands that American farmers believe our foreign and domestic customers are always right, even if they may not be right for the right reasons. It is the responsibility of U.S. farmers to grow what the customer demands and what the customer will buy. U.S. farmers also understand the concerns over on-farm segregation and the burdens that are placed on corn growers when the responsibility for segregating GM crops from traditional crops falls on their shoulders.
Important components of the Farmer Choice-Customer First program are the many surveys done to gauge the thoughts of those involved in this debate. Whether they are corn grower planting intentions, segregation sentiment surveys or grain elevator surveys, the program provides and publicly shares valuable real world data and materials.
source: email 3jun2005