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3-Food: Minneapolis Grain Exchange allows GE-free wheatspecifications



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  MINNEAPOLIS GRAIN EXCHANGE BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPROVES RULE
        ALLOWING SPRING WHEAT DELIVERY TAKERS THE CHOICE OF SPECIFYING
        NON-GENETICALLY MODIFIED WHEAT
SOURCE: Minneapolis Grain Exchange, USA, News Release
        http://www.mgex.com/news/news_releases/release51.html
DATE:   May 9, 2003

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MINNEAPOLIS GRAIN EXCHANGE BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPROVES RULE ALLOWING
SPRING WHEAT DELIVERY TAKERS THE CHOICE OF SPECIFYING NON-GENETICALLY
MODIFIED WHEAT

MINNEAPOLIS - May 9, 2003 - Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX) directors
yesterday approved a rule to allow takers of spring wheat futures
deliveries the choice of specifying non-genetically modified wheat in
fulfillment of delivery obligations. Pending MGEX ownership approval,
Rule 803.02 and accompanying Resolution 803.02 will be effective with the
July 2004 hard red spring wheat futures contract and all subsequently
listed trading months. MGEX ownership ballots will be counted on May 27.

"Although genetically modified, or transgenic, wheat varieties are not
currently on the market, we believe we must take a proactive stance on
this issue," said Kent Horsager, MGEX president and chief executive
officer. "This rule is not intended to eliminate deliveries of
genetically modified spring wheat. It just gives the taker of delivery
the right to choose," Horsager added.

"MGEX directors decided to address the potential for delivery of
genetically modified wheat before it became a factor in our cash
markets," said Ray Lottie, chairman of the MGEX board of directors and
manager of cereal and eastern grain operations for General Mills. "This
is a highly political and emotional issue for the wheat industry and we
did not want to wait for a dispute to arise before acting. We have an
obligation to preserve the orderly nature of our Spring Wheat Futures
delivery process. This rule will allow takers of delivery to make their
own judgments on the market acceptance of genetically modified wheat.
Market acceptance is key to genetically modified wheat reaching its full
potential for improving the lives of people around the world," he added.

Rule 803.02 reads, "If specifically requested in writing by the taker of
delivery at the time load-out instructions are submitted, elevators
regular for delivery of Hard Red Spring Wheat shall provide a certificate
stating the wheat delivered meets the standards established by the Board
of Directors by Resolution for non-genetically modified wheat."

Resolution 803.02 establishes the criteria for issuance of a certificate
as well as the obligations of the taker and delivery elevator. A delivery
elevator can meet the certificate requirement by providing a letterhead
statement issued by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards
Association (GIPSA) stating, "There are no transgenic wheat varieties for
sale or in commercial production in the United States at this time." In
the absence of this certificate, the delivery elevator, at their own
expense, must have the delivery wheat tested for transgenic events. A
certificate cannot be issued if the amount of genetically modified wheat
exceeds more than one percent (1%) of the delivery quantity. If a
certificate cannot be issued, the elevator must reload unless the taker
of the delivery and the elevator agree to other arrangements.

MGEX, established in 1881, is the only market for hard red spring wheat,
National Corn Index (NCI), National Soybean Index (NSI) and Hard Winter
Wheat Index (HWI) futures and options. For more information about MGEX,
visit www.mgex.com.

# # #


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Will market brawn be enough to make GM wheat a success?
SOURCE: Farmers Weekly, UK, by Alan Guebert
DATE:   May 9, 2003

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Will market brawn be enough to make GM wheat a success?

If most North American farmers say they do not want it and the vast
majority of global food importers claim they will not buy it, you might
assume the future of genetically modified wheat is bleak, right?

Wrong. Monsanto, the firm that invented Astroturf - artificial grass -
now hopes to bring GM spring wheat to the market by 2005 whether the
market wants it or not. In mid-December, Monsanto petitioned both the US
Dept of Agriculture and the Canadian government to approve its Roundup
Ready hard spring wheat for sale. Monsanto's push for GM wheat flies in
the face of virtually every known fact about the global marketability of
the controversial product. Two recent reports, one American, the other
Canadian, show the company's latest brainstorm to be largely brainless.

But this biotechnology battle is not about market brains; it's about
market brawn. Monsanto is the biggest biotech seed company in the world
and wheat is the third largest crop (behind maize and rice) erown in the
world.

In a February testimony to the Montana state legislature, respected Iowa
State University ag economist Robert Wisner predicted that there "is a
high probability that American GM wheat would be rejected... by a
substantial segment of the international market." That rejection "would
depress hard red spring wheat prices and probably durum wheat prices
by... one-third (the) average prices of recent years."

The testimony encouraged the Montana legislature to easily pass a
resolution urging Monsanto to take market impact into account before
releasing the new wheat. In his testimony, Wisner forecasted GM wheat
would have a larger negative impact on US exports than GM maize and soya,
two biotech seeds that have clipped US farm exports by more than $lbn
(630m) in the last three years.

Maize, used mostly as a feedstuff, avoids tough foreign GM labelling
laws, explained the Iowa scientist. Wheat, however, is a foodstuff and as
such, "GM wheat products would almost all be labelled as containing GMs
in the foreign countries."

Key US wheat buyers like Japan - which imports nearly 30m tonnes of US
wheat annually - Mexico, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Italy
have already served notice that if GM wheat is grown in the US, they want
USDA to certify the wheat they buy as GM-free. That's a virtual
impossibility, say grain marketing experts. Once the GM genie is out to
the bottle, bionic wheat will be everywhere in less than a decade, even
on US and Canadian farms that never planted it.

One likely outcome, forecasts Wisner, is the loss of American wheat
export markets to competitors who remain GM-free. Biotech wheat, he says,
would create a high risk of accelerated foreign investment in the
agriculture of former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe, in a pattern
resembling the foreign investment in Brazilian agriculture after the US
grain embargo of the early 1970s. All told, Wisner estimates, if American
farmers adopt GM wheat without an effective way to isolate it and
segregate it from conventional wheat, the US risks losing 33-52% of its
hard red winter wheat export markets and farmers could see a 32-35% drop
in domestic wheat prices.

In 2002, US wheat exports reached $3.6bn (2.3bn). Total 2002 US hard red
spring wheat production equalled 11m tonnes or about one-quarter of all
US wheat.

Researchers at the University ' Saskatchewan figure Roundup Ready wheat
would provide Prairie growers one quantifiable advantage - an estimated
3% yield boost due to reduced weed pressure. But that benefit, about
$5.30/acre (8.24/ha) according to their calculations, quickly converts
into big losses countrywide if the GM wheat is not segregated from non-GM
wheat.

The maths, contained in a 2002 research paper titled The Optimal Time to
License a Biotech 'Lemon', authored by three Saskatchewan ag economists,
shows that 74% of Canadian wheat growers would buy Roundup Ready wheat if
Monsanto charged a $7/acre (10.90/ha) technology fee. At that per-acre
charge, Monsanto would pocket about $108m (68m).

All Canadian wheat farmers, "adopters" and "non-adopters" alike, however,
would be hit for more than $50m (31m)because all wheat growers are
facing the lower market price that results in producing the "lemon" - a
product the global market does not want yet will be nearly impossible to
avoid. The net effect, say the Canadian researchers, is positive: nearly
$60m (38m) of benefits accrues to the Canadian wheat industry. However,
none of the net revenue flows to wheat farmers; it all flows to Monsanto.
That imbalance, says 69-year-old Montana wheat grower Helen Waller, "has
turned me into an anti-GM activist." "Even if our government or the
Canadian government says GM wheat is alright," explains Waller, "that is
not the issue. The issue is our customers; they do not want it. I don't
want it because my customers don't want it," she says, "it's that simple."