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2-Plants: U.S. corn growers maintained high levels of IRM adherencein 2004

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TITLE:  Corn Growers Maintained High Levels of IRM Adherence in 2004
SOURCE: National Corn Growers Association, USA
DATE:   6 Jan 2005

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Corn Growers Maintained High Levels of IRM Adherence in 2004
Annual regulatory survey reports more than 90 percent of growers adhering
to Bt stewardship requirements

(ST. LOUIS) January 6, 2005 -- For the fifth year in a row, a large
majority of corn growers are adhering to insect resistance management
(IRM) requirements designed for corn borer resistant Bt corn, according
to an annual survey required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

More than 550 Bt corn growers in the Corn Belt and Cotton Belt were
interviewed for the survey during the 2004 growing season. The results
from the survey, which was conducted by an independent research firm for
the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC),
highlight that more than 9 out of 10 growers, or 91 percent, met
regulatory requirements for IRM refuge size, while 96 percent met refuge
distance requirements.

According NCGA President Leon Corzine, these results validate corn
growers' commitment to being good stewards of Bt technology as well as
the effectiveness of a comprehensive, ongoing IRM awareness effort
spearheaded by NCGA, the Bt corn registrants and other key stakeholders.

"Awareness is key to informed decision-making about why and how to comply
with IRM refuge requirements," said Corzine. "Product stewardship is
everyone's responsibility. As growers, we understand the economic and
environmental benefits that Bt technology provides and want to do what we
can to make sure Bt corn remains effective against pests and is a tool
that is readily available for all of us."

Each of the four Bt corn registrants -- Dow AgroSciences; Pioneer Hi-Bred
International, Inc; Monsanto Company; and Syngenta Seeds, Inc. -- are
engaged in an aggressive and broad-based awareness campaign aimed at
ensuring that Bt corn growers understand their IRM obligations, including
extensive efforts that have been undertaken by the registrants
individually, as well as coordinated efforts among the registrants and
other stakeholders, such as NCGA and cooperative extension services. Some
of these efforts include informative collateral material, a Web-based IRM
training module, on-farm visits and other education and compliance based

The Compliance Assurance Program (CAP) is another factor that has
contributed to IRM awareness in the grower community. Introduced by the
seed industry in 2002, the CAP was developed to further inform growers
about the importance of complying with IRM requirements and how to
implement them on their farms. Under the CAP, Growers who do not meet
their IRM refuge requirements in two consecutive years can be denied
access to Bt corn borer resistant corn in the third year by their Bt corn
seed provider.

"Our experience has been that, as the number of information resources
available to growers increases, so does compliance with the
requirements," said Corzine.

We're clearly seeing the fruits of effort and will continue to work hard
to meet our industry's stewardship responsibility around this technology.
The seed industry recognizes the importance of maintaining diligence in
minimizing insect resistance and is committed to helping growers meet the
IRM requirements. Being good stewards benefits our customers, industry
and agriculture," he continued.

Survey results indicate that seed company and one-on-one dealer
interaction has been a critical factor in getting the word out to
farmers. Ninety-six percent of survey participants ranked seed dealers
and their seed companies as "important" sources of information -- with 85%
of growers recalling they had an individual conversation with a seed
company representative.

Not only did the majority of survey respondents indicate they were aware
of IRM requirements, but 96 percent of Bt corn growers said they received
enough information to properly implement a refuge in 2004, which is seven
percentage points higher than 2002 and 22 percentage points higher than
2001 survey results.

The IRM requirements established by the EPA, the Bt corn registrants and
academics in 1999 obligate growers to plant at least a 20 percent refuge
-- that is, corn that does not contain a Bt gene for controlling corn
borers -- and ensure every Bt cornfield is located within one-half mile of
a refuge. In certain corn/cotton areas of the South, growers are required
to plant at least a 50 percent corn refuge. These IRM refuge requirements
were enacted to help minimize the probability of corn insect pests, such
as the European corn borer, from developing resistance to Bt technology,
enabling the technology to be used well into the future.

Corzine also credited the EPA for using both science-based as well as
farmer-friendly practical information in developing refuge requirements.
"The result is high compliance rates and a system that works," he said.
"After more than six years of using the technology, we have not found
even one resistant corn borer in the growing fields of America."

Looking ahead to the 2005 growing season, Corzine suggests growers
consult with their seed dealers and seed company representatives to help
ensure they understand and meet IRM requirements. Growers also can visit
the "Know Before You Grow" section of for more information
on Bt corn and the IRM requirements.

Mimi Ricketts, NCGA, 636-733-9004, ext. 112
Gary Bradley (NCGA) 636-733-9004

# # #

The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC)
includes Bt corn registrants Dow AgroSciences; Monsanto Company; Pioneer
Hi-Bred International, Inc., and Syngenta Seeds, Inc. The committee is
working with the EPA to enforce IRM compliance. The National Corn Growers
Association (NCGA) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO),
along with various seed companies and universities, all support the
Committee's IRM compliance efforts. For additional information on
biotechnology, go to

632 Cepi Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63005
Phone: (636) 733-9004
FAX: (636) 733-9005

122 C Street, N.W., Suite 510
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 628-7001
FAX: (202) 628-1933


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