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7-Business: American Corn Growers Association predicts 25% reduction of GM crop acreage



-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE:  Uncertainty continues to plague genetically modified
        crops into the new year
SOURCE: American Corn Growers Association, press release
        http://www.acga.org/news/
DATE:   January 4, 2000

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ ------------------


Uncertainty continues to plague genetically modified crops into
the new year

No good news in store for biotechnology companies as U.S. farmers
turn their backs on the planting of GMOs

TULSA, OKŠ.January 4, 2000---As corn producers enter the new
year, the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) sees no change
in the uncertainty facing genetically modified crops (GMOs). In
fact, the likelihood is that both foreign and domestic opposition
to these products will continue to grow. "Since last March, U.S.
trading customers in Europe, Asia, India, Brazil, and Mexico have
been very clear in their refusal to purchase GMOs. It is time our
governmental leaders and grain exporters recognize this
opposition and act accordingly," said Gary Goldberg, Chief
Executive Officer of the ACGA.

In Europe, most major supermarket chains are now rejecting
genetically modified food products, while in Asia, major beer
breweries and Japanıs largest flour miller will stop using
ingredients produced from GMOs. In Mexico, the nation's largest
tortilla maker has announced that they will no longer purchase
GMO corn. Brazil recently ripped out their GMO soybean seed crops
so that they can supply the world with non-GMOs.

"Everywhere we turn, our customers are rejecting GMOs. It is time
that we return to the premise that the customer is always right,
and that it is the responsibility of American agricultural
producers to supply the market what it demands. In this case it
is non-GMO products," added Goldberg.

Other important issues that surround the GMO situation for the
year 2000 includes the questions of certification, segregation,
cross-pollination, corporate concentration, product labeling and
liability.

The recent meeting of the National Grain and Feed Association
included discussions of grain contracts that could allow an
elevator to reject the delivery of GMOs. If this action were
taken, not only would American farmers face the loss of foreign
markets, but the likelihood of limited domestic markets to
deliver their crops to. Recent statements by a leading
agricultural economist for the Federal Reserve Bank predicted
higher consumer food costs because of the expense to segregate,
test and label GMO products.

The liability question also continues to face agriculture. Who is
legally responsible for contamination of a neighbor's field? Will
farmer begin suing farmer over cross-pollination or will the
liability rest with the seed corn companies where it belongs? On
the issue of segregation and certification, who will bear the
financial burden of testing crops and the added expense of
keeping GMOs separate from non-GMOs?

All indications point to a sizable reduction in GMO seed
purchases for this coming season. The uncertainty over market
availability caused by consumer resistance, and the questions of
liability and segregation are driving farmers away from
genetically modified seeds. The ACGA prediction of a 20 percent
to 25 percent reduction in GMO planted acres seems more likely
everyday.

"If production agriculture has not been able to answer these
questions to their own satisfaction, they may want to consider
planting alternatives to GMOs. After all, can farmers afford to
plant a crop in the spring that may not be marketable come fall?
Or will their GMO crop face sizable discounts come harvest time
or even premiums for non-GMOs," added Goldberg.

The American Corn Growers Association will continue to protect
the interests of this nation's farmers who are caught in the
middle of this dispute between seed dealers, chemical companies,
grain exporters and processors, foreign consumers and U.S. trade
policy. Through no fault of their own, farmers are facing the
uncertainty of market loss, increased expenses and lower farm
income.

"The problems with genetically modified crops will not be going
away anytime soon. Nor will the likelihood of questionable export
markets, legal liability and increased costs for certification
and segregation. We suggest that farmers examine their own
individual farming operation to weight any benefits versus the
risks of GMOs," concluded Goldberg 


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