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GE - Latest news on 13th September



1) GM FOOD: Antitrust case sows seeds of debate By Jean Eaglesham -  Financial
Times Monday September 13 1999 
2) INNOVATION: Glaxo chief warns UK lags behind By Clive Cookson in Sheffield 
Financial Times 13/9/99
3) GM FOODS GROUP GACE HUGE LAWSUIT 13/9/99abd9be.jpg
By Jean Eaglesham, Legal Correspondent Financial Times
4) INDUSTRY CALL TO CONDUCT GM EXPERIMENTS 'UNDERGROUND'- Greenpeace Press
Release September 13th 1999
5) GM labels 'will be ignored' by diners Pru Leith warned today that
regulations
forcing caterers to list genetically modified ingredients would be
"unworkable"
and will be ignored by many retailers. 
© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 13 September 1999
6) Excite GM FOOD TRIAL VENUES MAY BE KEPT SECRET Monday 13 September 1999 
7) BBC Monday, September 13, 1999 Greenpeace rejects 'secret GM sites' Attacks
on GM crops have angered scientists 
8) Sunday, September 12, 1999 UK damaged by campaign against GM crops
abda2c.jpg
by BBC News Online's Damian Carrington 
9) Canadian farmer, Percy Schmieser, who is at the centre of a court case with
Monsanto  now has a website
10) Food War Claims Its Casualties - High-Tech Crop Fight Victimizes
Farmers By
Rick Weiss  Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, September 12, 1999; 

1) GM FOOD: Antitrust case sows seeds of debate By Jean Eaglesham -  Financial
Times Monday September 13 1999 
The huge antitrust lawsuit against life science companies to be launched later
this year will catapult the issue of genetically modified (GM) crops back into
public debate.
"It's going to throw open the door to soul searching by governments about the
future of agriculture," said Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Biotech Century and
prime motivator of the lawsuit to challenge the controversial techniques for
exploiting GM commercially.
"In a few years' time, no farmer in the world is ever going to own seeds again
- if that's not a case for antitrust [litigation], I don't know what is," Mr
Rifkin said.
The lawsuit should throw fresh light on competition policy in sectors where
each company's market share is inextricably linked to its intellectual
property. Unlike conventional markets, where goods are bought and sold, GM
crops are patented, with seeds leased to farmers on an annual basis.
These patent rights are fiercely protected. In the US, where GM crops are
widely used, farmers have to give a legally binding undertaking they will not
save and replant the seeds.
The life science companies are using bio-engineering skills to ensure these
undertakings become self-policing. Delta and Pine Land Company, which is being
acquired by Monsanto, and the US Department of Agriculture have received a
landmark patent on "terminator" seeds which self-destruct so they cannot be
replanted. Other companies are working on seeds that need a chemical
trigger to
grow.
Bio-engineering can also be used for cross-selling. Some GM crops can only be
treated with the insecticide sold by the same company.
Campaigners worry about the control this market structure gives the life
science companies, particularly in poor countries where nine out of 10 people
may depend on farming for survival. Traditionally, about 80 per cent of
farmers
in the developing world have saved and exchanged seeds. Will replacing this
model with a system for leasing seeds leave such farmers vulnerable to
exploitation?
"We feel that instead of improving lives, GM food and crops could strengthen
the very market forces that leave the poor poorer and make the rich richer,"
said Andrew Simms of the charity Christian Aid and author of arecent report on
GM crops.
"As companies like Monsanto buy into the major seed companies of countries
like
Brazil and India, real choice for farmers evaporates. They become locked
into a
system in which they have little or no choice over what to grow, with which
chemicals, who to sell to and at what price," Mr Simms added.
Governments cannot rely on market forces to ensure farmers are not
exploited by
the life science companies, campaigners argue, since the market is
consolidating rapidly and becoming dominated by a few multi- nationals. In the
US, for example, one company - Delta and Pine Land - controls more than 70 per
cent of the cotton seed market and four companies control 70 per cent of the
seed corn market.
"A host of mergers and affiliations in the industry are dangerously
concentrating ownership and control of the food chain; in this situation, real
choice, competition and consumer sovereignty are an illusion," said Mr Simms.
Supporters of GM crops point out the attributes that can be engineered into
food. A UK select committee of parliamentarians in January endorsed the new
technology, citing the benefits as "higher crop yields, better nutritional
content in foods, fewer herbicides and pesticides and cheaper food".
The crops have an important role to play in alleviating world hunger, the
companies claim. "Disease resistance and improved nutritional value mean [GM]
techniques would be very valuable to countries where they don't have the
infrastructure for insecticide distribution," said Pioneer Hybrid
International.
The cost of genetic research is such that companies can only continue
innovating if they are allowed to enjoy reasonable market shares and to
protect
their inventions using patents and leasing systems, the industry argues. It
says the sector does not enjoy immunity from normal competition controls -
Monsanto, for example, last month agreed to sell its cotton seed business to
pave the way for its much delayed acquisition of cotton seed breeder Delta and
Pine Land.
The debate over GM crops has a long way to run. The life science giants which
already have a battle on their hands to gain consumer acceptance must also
convince the courts their market is well policed.
==================
2) INNOVATION: Glaxo chief warns UK lags behind By Clive Cookson in Sheffield 
Financial Times 13/9/99

Sir Richard Sykes, chairman of Glaxo Wellcome, will today call for concerted
action by government, industry and universities to boost Britain's
international competitiveness in scientific and technical innovation.
"The UK has fallen behind in the struggle to compete not only with the
developed countries but with an increasing number of developing countries,"
Sir
Richard will say in his presidential address to the British Association for
the
Advancement of Science annual meeting in Sheffield.
Sir Richard, the most senior figure in Britain's pharmaceutical industry, says
government must "provide leadership and support for science and technology,
including a clear and well-communicated strategy".
A recent example of inconsistency, he says, was the government's refusal last
month to allow the Wellcome Trust to build a £100m biotechnology park
alongside
its Hinxton Hall genomics centre in rural Cambridgeshire, southern England,
because of planning objections.
Sir Richard says the message sent by John Prescott, the deputy prime minister,
in rejecting the centre seemed to contradict the support for biotechnology
"cluster" developments given by the Department of Trade and Industry.
Sir Richard also warns of the dangers of public hostility to genetically
modified crops. He says: "It is very possible that the outcomes of the present
anti-GM food campaign will be detrimental to this country. It will lead to a
failure to develop new UK companies based upon the technology developed here
[and] loss of technical expertise as funding by major international companies
is withdrawn."
==================

3) GM FOODS GROUP GACE HUGE LAWSUIT 13/9/99
By Jean Eaglesham, Legal Correspondent Financial Times

The world's biggest life science companies and grain processors will face a
multi-billion dollar antitrust action to be launched in up to 30 countries
later this year.
The unprecedented lawsuits will claim that companies such as Monsanto, DuPont
and Novartis are exploiting bioengineering techniques to gain a
stranglehold on
agricultural markets.
The action is being brought jointly by the Foundation on Economic Trends, run
by Washington-based biotech activist Jeremy Rifkin, and the US-based National
Family Farm Coalition, together with individual farmers across Latin America,
Asia, Europe and North America.
It will be the biggest antitrust suit ever brought, with the possible
exception
of that against Microsoft.
"It has literally global implications," said Michael Hausfeld of Cohen
Milstein
Hausfeld and Toll, one of the 20 US law firms that have agreed to take the
cases on a "no-win no-fee" basis.
The move represents the first global challenge to controversial techniques for
exploiting genetically modified crops commercially.
Companies take out patents on GM seeds and then lease, rather than sell, them
to farmers to be used for one season only. In the US, where GM crops are
rapidly becoming the norm, farmers have been sued for replanting GM seeds.
Companies have also developed "terminator" genes that cause GM crops to
produce
sterile seeds.
Concerns about the potential control this gives life science companies over
food, particularly in the developing world, have been exacerbated by a bout of
takeovers and mergers within the sector.
Ten companies now own 30 per cent of the $23bn annual commercial seed trade,
according to recent estimates, and five of those - Monsanto, Novartis,
AstraZeneca, Aventis and DuPont - control virtually all GM crops.
"By the early part of the next century, less than a handful of corporations
will possess control over the entire agricultural foundation for every
society.
You can see the potential for market abuse and manipulation," said Mr
Hausfeld.
The legal action comes at a sensitive time for the biotech industry, which is
facing growing consumer and political resistance to GM crops in Europe and in
developing countries such as India.
The issue seems likely to be raised at November's World Trade Organisation
talks in Seattle.
The companies can be expected to fight the lawsuit tooth and nail. They reject
any charge of market control.
"There is fierce competition around the world. We have a 42 per cent market
share [of the $20bn corn crop] in the US and we've had to work hard for it,"
said Pioneer Hibred International, the US seed company which is about to be
bought by DuPont.
"We've had to prove to farmers that our hybrid is better than any other."
Pioneer added that farmers retained the choice of whether to buy GM or
conventional seeds. 

=======================
4) INDUSTRY CALL TO CONDUCT GM EXPERIMENTS 'UNDERGROUND'- Greenpeace Press
Release September 13th 1999


Greenpeace dismissed calls today by Sir Richard Sykes, chairman of Glaxo 
Wellcome, that the Government should continue to conduct GM experiments 
in secret.
A recent report, commissioned by MAFF by the respected John Innes 
Research Institute pointed out that "Once GM crops are released they, 
like all crops, cannot be completely contained." Dispersal of pollen 
over several miles will take place by bees and other insects and will 
lead to the contamination of organic and non-GM crops.
Greenpeace campaign director, Dr Douglas Parr said: "If science is to 
progress and serve the best interests of the public, the industry should 
redirect the public money it is ploughing into this unwanted, 
unpredictable technology into research into sustainable organic 
agriculture. It is not a question of 'pro' or 'anti-science', but a 
question as to which scientific research will benefit mankind in future 
generations." 
The organic food sector is growing faster than any other industry in the 
UK, including Information Technology.
ENDS
Notes to Editors: 
In the current financial year, MAFF has spent £125 million on investment 
into research and development of industrial farming. In 1998, the 
Government spent £52 million on the research and development of 
agricultural biotechnology. It only spent £2.2 million on the research 
and development of the organic sector.
For further information please contact the Greenpeace press office on 
0171 865 8255/6/7/8
=====================

5) GM labels 'will be ignored' by diners
Pru Leith warned today that regulations forcing caterers to list genetically
modified ingredients would be "unworkable" and will be ignored by many
retailers. 13/9/99 Web news
The restaurateur spoke out as a new survey revealed that more than half of
pubs, restaurants and take-aways were not aware of next week's deadline for
labelling GM ingredients in food they serve. 
Ms Leith said: "There is no chance overworked restaurateurs will check the
provenance of up to 30 ingredients for every recipe. Most of them will ignore
the directive and the rest will say they are GM-free without checking. 
"There is no demand for the public for this legislation. I have yet to hear of
a single restaurateur, publican or chain operator who has ever been asked
about
GMs by a customer." 
The survey, for BBC1's Breakfast News, also found that 31 per cent of food
outlets said they would not be ready to comply with the new regulations in
time. 
The new law, effective from next Monday, requires restaurants to label their
menus if the food contains GM soya or GM maize. The regulations were announced
in March, giving businesses six months to make the necessary changes. But 53
per cent of 262 outlets questioned in 10 of Britain's largest cities said they
were unaware of the deadline. 
Some local authorities fear they will find it difficult to enforce the
labelling law. They blame this on a lack of resources both to carry out
laboratory tests on food to see if it contains GM ingredients and to conduct
checks at premises. 
Cambridgeshire County Council said this week it was introducing a total ban on
GMs to avoid the cost of labelling every school menu. 
At the same time some of London's top restaurants, including the Savoy and the
River Café, have already pledged to ban genetically modified foods. 
Antonio Carluccio of the Neal Street Restaurant and The Square Restaurant's
Philip Howard are part of a new Avoiding GM Foods campaign which includes
displaying a logo at their establishments. 
It is part of Greenpeace's True Food campaign, involving more than 20
restaurants in the capital. 
© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 13 September 1999
==================

6) Excite GM FOOD TRIAL VENUES MAY BE KEPT SECRET Monday 13 September 1999 
The location of genetically modified crop test sites could be kept secret in
future if protesters continue destroying the trials, Cabinet Office Minister
Jack Cunningham has suggested. He described the destruction of GM crops as
"anti science" and added that if such behaviour continued, the Government
would
have to consider withholding locations. Mr Cunningham was responding to a call
from the chairman of the British Association for the Advancement of Science,
Sir Richard Sykes, who does not want locations published. Sir Richard is to
detail his views in a speech to the association's annual conference in
Sheffield. Mr Cunningham told BBC Radio: "We cannot allow a situation to
continue where premeditated vandalism and physical destruction of other
people's property prevents us building up the scientific knowledge we need to
make properly informed decisions. "Test growing of the crops is essential, not
to test the food safely but to gauge the impact on the environment. "I would
have thought that anyone who cares about the environment, as I do and as the
Government does, would want those tests to go ahead in the open in a balanced
way so that everyone can have access to what is useful and important
information. "But if we cannot proceed with the test growing in an open way,
then we shall have to consider alternatives." Mr Cunningham does not think
that
position has yet been reached, but said he is monitoring the situation and
looking at what happened in other countries. 

========================

7) BBC Monday, September 13, 1999 Greenpeace rejects 'secret GM sites' Attacks
on GM crops have angered scientists 

Greenpeace has dismissed hints that the government may hide the locations of
genetically-modified (GM) crop trials if protesters continue to attack them. 
The Cabinet Office has said it is up to environment groups to ensure the sites
were not kept under wraps, after a leading scientist called for secrecy. 
"The ball is very much in the court of some of their activists," a spokesman
said. 
But Greenpeace responded by repeating its belief that GM crop trials were not
in the best interests of the public. 
The president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Sir
Richard Sykes, called for the sites to be kept secret at Britain's Festival of
Science in Sheffield. 
Sir Richard said this would enable scientists to collect the data without
disruption. 
But Greenpeace campaign director, Dr Douglas Parr, said: "If science is to
progress and serve the best interests of the public, the industry should
redirect the public money it is ploughing into this unwanted, unpredictable
technology into research into sustainable organic agriculture. 
"It is not a question of 'pro' or 'anti-science', but a question as to which
scientific research will benefit mankind in future generations." 
At the moment, protesters can find precise details of the locations in the
press and on the Internet. 
Cabinet Office Minister Jack Cunningham told BBC Radio 4's Today programme
that
could change if GM crops continued to be targeted. 
He said: "We cannot allow a situation to continue where premeditated vandalism
and physical destruction of other people's property prevents us building up
the
scientific knowledge we need to make properly informed decisions. 
Mr Cunningham said he did not think that position had been reached yet, but
said he was monitoring the situation and looking at what happened in other
countries. 
Sir Richard, who is also chairman of the biotechnology giant Glaxo-Wellcome,
called for future testing to be secret to avoid the "vandalism" that has
destroyed a number of experimental crops in the UK. 
He said it was certain that GM technology would continue to be developed
elsewhere and its full potential and rewards would be realised by the UK's
competitors. 
"GM crops are at the cutting edge of agriculture and when we start to lose
this
high technology and the scientists, we start to lose part of our
knowledge-based economy," he said. 
"That is certainly detrimental to the UK." 
Sir Richard also said that UK companies working in GM technology are already
not getting investment because of concerns over the UK's attitude and are
therefore not able to do their research. 
Britain has offered to host a conference on behalf of the 29 nations in the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development next March. 
Dr Cunningham said the conference should make a "significant contribution to
the GM debate". 
=============================

8) Sunday, September 12, 1999 UK damaged by campaign against GM crops 
by BBC News Online's Damian Carrington 
The campaign against genetically-modified (GM) foods is damaging the UK's
future prosperity, says Sir Richard Sykes, Chairman of the biotechnology giant
Glaxo-Wellcome and President of the British Association. 
He also called for future testing to be secret to avoid the "vandalism" that
has destroyed a number of experimental crops in the UK, in a speech launching
Britain's Festival of Science in Sheffield. 
Sir Richard said it is certain that GM technology will continue to be
developed
elsewhere and its full potential and rewards would be realised by the UK's
competitors. 
Indeed, the exploitation of UK science and technology in general has fallen
behind not just other developed countries, but also an increasing number of
developing countries, he added. 
"GM crops are at the cutting edge of agriculture and when we start to lose
this
high technology and the scientists, we start to lose part of our
knowledge-based economy. That is certainly detrimental to the UK." 
Sir Richard also said that UK companies working in GM technology are already
not getting investment because of concerns over the UK's attitude and are
therefore not able to do their research. 
He criticised the government's handling of the GM debate: "They have tried
very
hard to pull it back, but it did get away from them. That was a mistake which
they should admit and learn from." 
In a controversial statement, Sir Richard stated that the locations of future
farm-scale tests of GM crops should be kept secret. He said the policy of Open
Government was not applicable in this case as it was critical to do the tests
on GM crops and then tell the public the results. 
"We will have terrible problems if the tests are held back and farmers are not
going to continue putting their necks on the line," he said. "We do not say
where we do genetic testing of animals because it is just too sensitive now." 
Sir Richard condemned the government's decision not to allow the
development of
a major biotechnology business park next to the Wellcome Trust's gene-hunting
Sanger Centre in Cambridgeshire. 
On the one hand the government says it supports the development of
biotechnology, but the prevention of this development "sends a message to top
scientists all over the world to go to other places," said Sir Richard. 
"This has gone terribly wrong and I hope the government will realise that and
change its position." 
The new development was refused planning permission as it was to be built on
undeveloped, "green field" land. 
Sir Richard used the start of the 160th British Association Festival of
Science
to highlight a number of key building blocks "essential for achieving a
knowledge-based economy." 
These range across education, industry and public attitudes and Sir Richard
believes there should be a cabinet minister with responsibility for the
initiatives: "There must be someone high up in the government looking in an
overarching way at science and technology in terms of our position in the
world." 
Stephen Byers, the UK's Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, currently
has this role but Sir Richard suggested that he has too many other
responsibilities to be effective in managing the necessary changes in the UK's
science and technology. 
Sir Richard gave the example of Singapore as a country that had successfully
encouraged high technology already. It had created an infrastructure, an
educated workforce and given tax advantages, he said. 
He also said that the President of Taiwan had told him "I want to talk about
biotechnology - I want to invest for the future." Sir Richard said he had
heard
no such comment from any UK politician. 
The UK government's investment in the science base had "at best stagnated"
over
the last 15 years and recent increases would only address past
under-investments. 
Sir Richard also saw danger signs in the private sector. Last year's total UK
civil research and development spending was less than the increase in Japan's
spending. And venture capital invested in early-stage UK companies in 1997 was
only £350m, compared to £5.8bn in the US. 
======================

9) Canadian farmer, Percy Schmieser, who is at the centre of a court case with
Monsanto  now has a website
This is a site profiling and seeking support for Percy Schmieser in his 
legal challenge with Monsanto over Genetically Altered Roundup Ready 
Canola: <http://fightfrankenfood.com/>http://fightfrankenfood.com 
************************************************************************
(Canada)$20 million funding for biotech/GE industries
===================

10) Food War Claims Its Casualties - High-Tech Crop Fight Victimizes
Farmers By
Rick Weiss  Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, September 12, 1999; 
As the crucial fall harvest season approaches, many U.S. farmers and other 
agricultural workers are in a near panic because of escalating uncertainty 
over genetically engineered crops. 
Farmers planted millions of acres of the high-tech crops this year. But 
foreign buyers are rejecting them in droves, despite aggressive U.S. 
marketing efforts and assurances of their safety.
In the past month alone, Japan's two biggest breweries and a major Mexican 
corn tortilla maker said they would no longer use U.S. gene-altered corn in 
their products, adding to troubles caused by the European Union's previous 
large-scale rejection of such crops.
Even Iams Co., the Ohio-based pet food maker, recently told its grain 
suppliers it would no longer accept genetically engineered corn for use in 
its premium dog and cat chows unless the corn varieties were among the few 
approved by the European Union.
Twelve days ago those developments hit home for many farmers, when Archer 
Daniels Midland (ADM), the big Illinois-based buyer and exporter of farm 
commodities, made the ominous recommendation that U.S. farmers segregate 
their gene-altered and non-altered crops at harvest because of heightened 
demand for conventional varieties both domestically and abroad.
The announcement left many farmers feeling angry and betrayed.
"American farmers planted [gene-altered crops] in good faith, with the 
belief that the product is safe and that they would be rewarded for their 
efforts," the American Corn Growers Association said in a statement last 
week. "Instead they find themselves misled by multinational seed and 
chemical companies and other commodity associations who only encouraged 
them to plant increased acres of [these crops] without any warning to 
farmers of the dangers associated with planting a crop that didn't have 
consumer acceptance."
More than 40 genetically modified crops have been given the green light by 
U.S. regulators as safe to eat and environmentally friendly. And most 
farmers express satisfaction with the varieties. The crops contain genes 
from bacteria and viruses to make them resistant to insects and weed 
killers, promising farmers a better deal.
Agricultural biotechnology companies promoted the gene-altered varieties 
heavily during the past two years, and farmers planted them in record 
numbers this year. But a wave of consumer distrust that started in England 
two years ago has swept around the globe and in recent months has shown 
signs of taking hold in the United States -- especially since the widely 
reported discovery this summer that pollen from corn engineered to produce 
an insecticide could kill Monarch butterflies.
The result has been an unexpected twist: Many farmers who did not plant the 
new varieties are resting easier than their progressive counterparts 
because much of the world is clamoring for their ordinary harvest. Some of 
these farmers are even being promised they'll be paid a premium for their 
old-fashioned corn and soybeans.
The reverse economics, in which farmers who paid premium prices for 
high-tech seeds are being shunned and may have to sell their harvest at a 
discount, is cultivating a high level of frustration.
"I've been in this business for 30 years and this indecision about 
genetically engineered seeds and what the future holds for farmers is the 
worst I've seen," said Chuck Simmons, president of Bio-Plant Research in 
Camp Point, Ill., a marketer of gene-altered soy and other seeds. "This is 
the Y2K of agriculture."
Until recently, the debate over gene-altered food had its impact almost 
entirely on Washington agencies and big-city corporate offices. Under 
pressure from foreign buyers, for example, Secretary of Agriculture Dan 
Glickman this summer called for an independent assessment of whether the 
U.S. biotech crop approval process is adequate. The National Academy of 
Sciences is preparing a report on the environmental implications of the new 
crops. And the American Medical Association said last week it would revisit 
and rewrite its nine-year-old unflinchingly positive policy statement on 
the safety of biotech foods.
This summer, however, the issue started to affect biotechnology companies 
directly. Sales abroad came to a near halt. And mimicking the protests that 
last year paralyzed biotech agriculture in Europe, U.S. activists started 
uprooting fields of gene-altered plants during midnight raids on company 
test plots in California, Maine and Minnesota. In the latest raid, 
protesters in Vermont planted placards with pictures of Monarch butterflies 
in a field of engineered corn they had ruined.
But it was the announcement from Archer Daniels Midland that really brought 
the debate home to the American farmer.
"Some of our customers are requesting and making their purchases based upon 
the genetic origin of the crops used to manufacture their products," the 
statement said. "If we are unable to satisfy their requests, they do have 
alternative sources for their ingredients. We encourage you as our supplier 
to segregate non-genetically enhanced crops to preserve their identity."
The most immediate problem raised by the new announcement is how to 
accomplish that segregation. More than half of the nation's soybeans and 
about a third of this summer's corn were genetically engineered. But many 
of the grain elevators and other storage depots that farmers bring their 
harvests to don't have multiple bins or the capacity needed to keep 
engineered and non-engineered varieties apart, said Randy Sexton, of 
Niantic Farmers Grain Co. in Niantic, Ill.
"We do 75 percent of our volume within 30 days after harvest," Sexton said. 
"We unload one truck right after another, and we're not well suited to 
switch from one load to another."
Moreover, Sexton said, elevator operators would have to clean their 
equipment between batches to prevent any carryover of engineered varieties 
into conventional ones -- a difficult job that would cost the company time 
and wages. And what if some contamination occurred? Who would be responsible?
"We hire temporary helpers and farmers hire temporary drivers and it would 
be very easy to get a truck mixed up," Sexton said. "And if you contaminate 
ADM's supply, there's a potential for liability."
For farmers too, segregation is a problem. If their local elevator decides 
to take only one kind of crop or the other, because of an inability to keep 
them separate, farmers may have to drive many miles farther than before to 
unload their harvest, again costing time and money.
With farmers facing record low commodity prices, and grain elevator 
operators also working on very narrow profit margins, both groups are 
asking who will pay for the added expenses of segregation.
"Growers are not in any position to absorb that cost," said Gary Bradley, a 
spokesman for the National Corn Growers Association.
In deciding what seed to buy next year farmers will rely on a calculation 
of how much the engineered seeds cost relative to conventional seeds, how 
much money they may save if the new seeds keep their promise of higher 
yields and lower pesticide costs, and how much they may lose next fall if 
engineered crops sell for less than conventional ones.
Some agricultural economists wonder whether farmers will retreat to 
conventional seeds, thus saving them the trouble of having to segregate and 
possibly buying themselves a premium next fall.
Gary Goldberg, chief executive officer of the American Corn Growers 
Association, said initial projections for next year's planting of 
engineered corn called for an increase of about 20 percent or more over 
this year's acreage. "We now think there may be a 20 to 25 percent 
reduction in [engineered] acres next year because of this uncertainty issue."
Seed suppliers say demand may not increase as it has, but they also don't 
expect a big downturn."We have genetically enhanced seeds as well as 
traditional varieties and we will continue to supply growers with whatever 
they want and need," said Lori Fisher, a spokeswoman for Monsanto in St. 
Louis. "We do expect to see a growth in bags of genetically enhanced seeds 
sold. We believe farmers will continue to adopt the technology." 
(c) 1999 The Washington Post Company 
======================== 

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