Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Agriculture

September 13, 2013

Soybean rivals team up on common issues

ST. LOUIS — Farmers who grow 90 percent of the world’s soybeans and normally battle for global market share met recently to discuss how they can work together on issues that affect all farmers. Among other topics, they discussed what they could do to speed up getting new, biotechnology-enhanced soybean varieties approved in more markets around the world.

This type of gathering isn’t new to these farmers, who are members of the International Soy Growers Alliance (ISGA), a group formed in 2005 to bring together Argentine, Brazilian, Paraguayan, Uruguayan and U.S. soybean farmers.

Farmer-leaders representing the soy checkoff, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) participated in the most recent ISGA meeting, where members approved a resolution that, among other things, calls for science-based and more predictable approval systems for soybeans improved through biotechnology. Currently, these approvals in several countries tend to take long or not happen at all, holding up or blocking U.S. soybean sales or delay farmers’ ability to plant new biotech varieties.

To show support for these issues, ISGA has also begun plans to bring together farmers from both continents to meet with common customers, decision makers and government officials next year. ISGA members will stress the importance of swift and science-based approval processes to prevent trade disruptions. In 2012, ISGA conducted a similar mission to the European Union, where U.S. and South American farmers met with officials from several countries to discuss the importance of biotechnology approvals and acceptance.

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