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FOOD: U.S. wheat industry works towards a GE wheat consensus



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Wheat Summit II moves industry toward consensus
SOURCE: National Association of Wheat Growers, USA
AUTHOR: 
URL:    http://www.wheatworld.org/html/news.cfm?ID=1188
DATE:   20.04.2007
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Wheat Summit II moves industry toward consensus

Wheat Summit II, a follow-up to the first Wheat Summit in September
2006, was held in Kansas City this week. About 70 representatives from
all aspects of the wheat industry - growers to branded food companies -
attended.

The four Wheat Summit working groups presented proposals and working
papers to the full group in an effort to form majority opinions that
will be released publicly in the coming weeks.

"People were more frank with their discussion and we really made some
progress," said John Thaemert, NAWG president, in a press release on the
Summit.

"I feel very good about the progress we made today. Again, there are
people who have to go home and get final approval to make a formal
statement, but I think you'll see something in the near future."

Collaboration achieved through the Wheat Summit process is aimed at
having industry consensus in four major areas: domestic competitiveness;
domestic farm policy; exports, transportation and infrastructure; and
research and technology.

"We represent the wheat industry from the ground up," Thaemert said.
"Everyone has skin in this game and they know it."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research
Service, wheat's share of U.S. field crop receipts has fallen from 20
percent in the early 1980s to about 11 percent in recent years.

The second Wheat Summit, like the first Summit, was planned by NAWG and
the North American Millers' Association. The first Summit was the follow-
up to a paper released in June 2006 that outlined some of the problems
facing the American wheat industry. That paper is available online at: 
http://www.wheatworld.org/html/info.cfm?ID=23


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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Wheat Summit II given 'two thumbs up' by those taking part
SOURCE: Farm & Ranch Guide, USA
AUTHOR: Dale Hildebrant
URL:    http://www.farmandranchguide.com/articles/2007/04/26/ag_news/
regional_news/local02.txt
DATE:   26.04.2007
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...........................................................................
The summit also discussed the GMO issue which has up to now divided the
wheat industry on whether bio-tech wheat should be adopted or not. Although
it's apparent a consensus on this matter was not arrived at during this
summit, Thaemert indicated there was movement toward seeing the necessity
of accepting bio-tech wheat. "People are seeing the light," he said, "and
we are working to pursue this based on science-based education, and work
on consumer acceptance and perception." The summit did create a bio-tech
subgroup that will work with the various GMO concepts in the wheat
industry.
...........................................................................


Wheat Summit II given 'two thumbs up' by those taking part

The just concluded Wheat Summit II was given "two thumbs up" by those
taking part in a news conference at the end of the summit meeting.

This was a follow-up meeting to the first Wheat Summit, which was held
back in September 2006. This latest meeting, which was held April 19 in
Kansas City, involved about 70 representatives from all aspects of the
wheat industry ranging from growers all the way up the food chain to
branded food companies.

John Miller of the North American Millers' Association gave the summit
high ratings.

"Speaking for the group, I think we had a very successful day today,"
Miller said. "It was a continuation of the process we tried to start
last year, which was to bring together all of constituents of wheat here
in the United States - producers, transporters, processors, end users,
breeders and technical people, because we share a common concern about
the trend in wheat acreage in the United States and wheat's ability to
compete with other crops.

"And today we made significant progress in trying to narrow down and
continue to identify those issues that we think we can have a meaningful
impact on," he continued. "It is a process, not an event, and we leave
here today enthused about continuing to try to work together and have
some meaningful results down the road."

John Thaemert, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers
(NAWG), noted that there was a Roman numeral two after this summit and
he fully expects there will be a number three as well as the industry
engages in a dialogue to improve the wheat industry.

"People were more frank with their discussions and we really made some
progress," Thaemert said. "Sometimes people confuse motion with
progress. I feel good about the progress we made today.

"Again, there are people who have to go home and get final approval to
make a formal statement, but I think you'll see something in the near
future," Thaemert said when pressed to elaborate on any agreements made
at the Summit.

During the first Wheat Summit the group decided to focus on four
different areas: domestic competitiveness; domestic farm policy;
exports, transportation and infrastructure; and research and technology.
Miller noted that one of the most gratifying things that came out of the
summit was the education that occurred.

"I look back over the past five years or so and wish that we would have
started a process like this long ago," Miller said. "When we got
together in a room for the first time last fall, we were woefully
uneducated on each of the various constituency's problems, opportunities
and what strengths we bring. It was clear today that we are all a lot
smarter about the issues and problems each of us face and that makes it
easier to try to reach a consensus and just be able to talk to each
other in a meaningful way."

The summit also discussed the GMO issue which has up to now divided the
wheat industry on whether bio-tech wheat should be adopted or not.
Although it's apparent a consensus on this matter was not arrived at
during this summit, Thaemert indicated there was movement toward seeing
the necessity of accepting bio-tech wheat.

"People are seeing the light," he said, "and we are working to pursue
this based on science-based education, and work on consumer acceptance
and perception."

The summit did create a bio-tech subgroup that will work with the
various GMO concepts in the wheat industry.

Daren Coppock, CEO of NAWG, noted that several draft position papers
came out of the summit and once the various organization approve those
papers some majority opinions will be coming forth.

The recent bout of freezing temperatures in the Kansas wheat area was
mentioned at the summit and Miller said that event caught the attention
of the nation's milling industry and was talked about considerably
between the flour millers.

"That event has reinforced and re-focused us on the fact that we need to
broaden wheat production in the United States, geographically as well as
in terms of acres, because these are the types of problems we can
survive as an industry if wheat is widely produced and geographically
dispersed," Miller said.

In summarizing the summit meeting, Thaemert said, "We represent the
wheat industry from the ground up. Everyone has skin in this game and
they know it. I think we have the start of a very powerful organization."


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                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Wheat summit reports progress toward GMO
SOURCE: Capital Press, USA
AUTHOR: Scott A. Yates
URL:    http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?
SectionID=67&SubSectionID=619&ArticleID=31950&TM=78877.98
DATE:   27.04.2006
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...........................................................................
Thaemert said most of those involved in the Wheat Summit have boards and
other executives to report to, so before releasing the group's findings
to reporters, everyone had to go back to seek approval for the
recommendations. A "majority opinion" from the group is expected before
the end of the month. "I've been up front and honest on this issue, and
we are definitely making progress," Thaemert said, adding, however, that
some wheat buyers "doggedly hold on to the sentiment that GM is bad and
yet they have no scientific evidence to support their opinion."
...........................................................................


Wheat summit reports progress toward GMO
Major players in industry gather to address variety of topics

Sounding more like a state department diplomat than the president of the
National Association of Wheat Growers, John Thaemert said "substantial
progress" had been made toward an agreement that should eventually
result in the release of a genetically modified wheat.

The progress took place at Wheat Summit II, the second time a broad
array of wheat industry players came together to discuss the future of
the industry and their part in helping forge it. Sponsored by the
National Association of Wheat Growers, the Kansas City meeting saw
producers, millers, bakers, transportation executives, exporters and end
users gather. All together, about 70 people attended.

A teleconference held for journalists after the meeting concluded April
19 promised more than it delivered. There were no formal announcements,
unless you count how well everyone got along.

"The most gratifying thing that has occurred is the amount of
education," said John Miller, of Miller Milling, who spoke of how
woefully uneducated some segments of the industry have been about the
challenges facing other segments along the food chain. He also said the
event "reinforced and refocused" the need to broaden wheat acres in the
United States.

The turnout was organized into four working groups that tackled various
parts of the wheat industry equation. Each group focused on a single
issue and then presented their findings before the entire body. The four
areas under the microscope were domestic competitiveness; domestic farm
policy; exports, transportation and infrastructure; and research and
technology. Of the four, Thaemert said recommendations of the group
discussing genetically modified wheat provided "the lightning round"
where the most sparks flew.

Although other crops have been genetically altered to provide farmers
different technological traits, wheat has remain on the sidelines. There
are different reasons for its banishment. Some argue wheat is different
because genetically engineered wheat flour would carry the altered DNA
structure that is directly consumed by humans.

Of course, that is true of many other products on supermarket shelves,
especially those that contain corn. It can't be discounted either that
wheat as a food holds a special place among consumers as the plant
mentioned in the Bible as "the staff of life."

The lack of a GMO wheat, however, has had an impact on wheat acres,
which have been shrinking as other crops with genetic engineering expand
their footprint. One of the primary reasons for organizing the first
Wheat Summit was to explain to executives along the food chain how a GMO
roadblock could affect their business by a decline in wheat acreage.

Thaemert said most of those involved in the Wheat Summit have boards and
other executives to report to, so before releasing the group's findings
to reporters, everyone had to go back to seek approval for the
recommendations. A "majority opinion" from the group is expected before
the end of the month.

"I've been up front and honest on this issue, and we are definitely
making progress," Thaemert said, adding, however, that some wheat buyers
"doggedly hold on to the sentiment that GM is bad and yet they have no
scientific evidence to support their opinion."

Thaemert, who operates a farm in Kansas and also serves as a trust
officer at a local bank, said he believes there will be genetically
engineered wheat under production at some point in the future. He just
doesn't know when.

"Change will not occur overnight, but we are seeing progress made toward
the time we'll have a general acceptance of a biotech trait," he said.

If that kind of acceptance were available today, Thaemert said, there
are at least a couple of traits that could be on the market in three to
five years. The latest unreleased trait is a fusarium head blight
resistance. Also known as scab, the disease has become a multimillion-
dollar headache in the Midwest.

Although Syngenta, which has been developing the head blight resistant
wheat, has played coy about the progress of the cultivar, Thaemert said
he has learned from those who have seen the GE wheat up close that it is
highly effective and only waiting for public acceptance to be released.


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