Iowa Farmers Call for Cooperation in Biotech Trade Issues

Kelly MarshallAg Group, biotechnology, Corn

Global Agribusiness ForumThe International Maize Alliance (MAIZALL) sent representatives to Sao Paulo, Brazil last month for the 2016 Global Agribusiness Forum.  Pam Johnson, former president of the Nation Corn Growers Association (NCGA), and Julius Schaff, former chair of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) represented Iowa Corn farmers as part of the coalition to address the challenges of innovation and food security.  Both brought their perspective to the biennial MAIZALL conference.

Johnson’s opening remarks highlighted the need for cooperation among farmers to ensure access to tools that provide safe, affordable and sustainably produced food.

“Addressing influential group global leaders at the forefront of global market access issues for biotech crops was powerful,” said Johnson. “MAIZALL works to give U.S. corn farmers that front row access in meeting the global food challenges of our day. With the global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, farmers in North and South America must understand the need to increase agricultural productivity to meet the unprecedented demand for food and feed. Food security continues to be a priority with more than 800 million people still not having enough food to eat. We know that we are still not where we need to be on basic nutrition … even before we factor in growth. And all of us today must understand that increased trade remains essential to closing the gap.”

Schaaf acted as part of a panel to discuss sustainable food production.  His talk emphasized the need for science-based regulations.

“Meeting this increased global food demand must be accomplished sustainably using less land, energy and water and mitigate the impacts of climate change,” said Schaaf. “In order to accomplish such a task, farmers will need access to agricultural biotechnology. However, regulatory gridlock and lack of consumer understanding of agricultural technologies restrict farmers’ ability to capture the benefits of innovation.”

You can watch a video of Johnson’s remarks here.