Iowa Growers Share Biotech Success Story

Growers from across Iowa took advantage of the rainy weather to tout the worldwide benefits of biotechnology. Here’s the gist of what they told representatives visitingfrom 10 foreign countries.

Corn farmers representing the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) gathered at the farm of Gordon Wassenaar in Prairie City, IA, on Oct. 14 to share a common message about the future of crop technology with the international visitors.

“We wouldn’t have the crop we have now if it wasn’t for biotechnology. Despite devastating flood conditions early in the planting season, we are still witnessing strong yields and we will have a reliable supply for our domestic needs and for our overseas customers,” said Wassenaar.

The Iowa farmers were speaking to nearly 30 international biotechnology regulators participating in the U.S. Grains Council’s International Biotechnology Information Conference. The consistent message delivered to the participants was clear-cut: Without biotechnology we wouldn’t be producing the crop we are able to produce today.

“We went from one of the driest seasons last year to one of the wettest this year,” said Julius Schaaf, ICPB past chairman and USGC at-large director. “Yet we managed to have the largest harvest in history, and this year will likely be the second-largest. Given the same conditions 10, 15, or 20 years ago, we would have half the crop we will bring in this year. We have the seed varieties to stand up to stress, insects, and variations in temperature.”

The participants of the conference were presented technical, science-based information earlier in the week at Iowa State University, but said hearing from corn growers was reassuring.

“We do have concerns about biotechnology and such but meeting the actual growers of biotechnology-derived corn eased many of our doubts. The farmers were very sincere. They use the same products for food and feed that they export, there is no difference,” said Marcela Jimenez, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Costa Rica.

The conference, sponsored by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board, was held last week.

(Source: U.S. Grains Council)

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