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CORN GROWERS CALL ON FARMERS TO CONSIDER ALTERNATIVES TO PLANTING GMOS
IF QUESTIONS ARE NOT ANSWERED
August 25, 1999
WASHINGTON -- To ease the dilemma over the uncertainly caused by
genetically modified organisms (GMO), the American Corn Growers
Association (ACGA) is proposing that farmers should look at the option
of planting non-GMO crops if certain questions are not answered.
This is not an issue over the health or scientific effects of GMOs.
It's an issue over production agriculture's inability to answer the many
questions that surround this controversial issue.
"GMOs have become the albatross around the neck of farmers on issues of
trade, labeling, testing, certification, segregation, market
availability and agribusiness concentration. Until all these issues are
answered, it is best for production agriculture to examine alternatives
to planting GMOs," said Gary Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer of the
There are many uncertainties facing farmers. Historically low prices
brought about by overproduction have made the future unclear. Adding to
this uncertainty is unfair to producers. Therefore, the ACGA is calling
on the following questions to be addressed:
-- How do we export GMO grains to unwilling foreign customers and
the USDA encourage the sale of GMO free crops?
-- Who will be responsible for maintaining separate channels for GMO
crops and assuring the integrity of non-GMO crops? Will farmers who
traditional (non-GMO) varieties be burdened with testing and other
costs associated with segregation or identity preservation?
-- If testing is needed, who will do the testing, can the testing be
done in the field, and how much will the tests costs?
-- How far do GMO and GMO free grains have to be planted from each
other to prevent cross-pollination?
-- Since GMO fields can cross-pollinate with non-GMO fields, will
growers be required to plant buffer zones? How large should the buffer
-- Will biotech companies be liable for contamination of non-GMO
caused by cross-pollination?
-- Will there be the need for liability waivers between neighbors to
prevent legal ramifications in the event of one neighbor not knowing
what another neighbor is planting?
-- How does a grain elevator plan to segregate GMO from GMO free and
will there be a price differential?
-- What kind of certification procedure will be needed for the
elevator and will each elevator have its own certification form?
-- Should USDA come forward with a universal certification process
that would be accepted by all grain elevators?
-- How does the monopolistic practice of a handful of companies
controlling the entire GMO process effect the future of U.S. food
-- How would labeling of GMO products fall within the GATT
-- Are the supposedly higher yields of GMOs marketable in a climate
that already has overproduction and oversupply?
"Farmers are caught in the middle of this dispute between grain
foreign buyers, seed companies, local grain elevators and different
governments. The ACGA feels it is best for producers to consider
alternatives for this upcoming planting season until these many
are answered," concluded Goldberg.
The ACGA calls on seed companies to make sure that an adequate supply of
GMO free seed is available to farmers for the 2000 planting season and
that no undue pressure to plant GMOs is placed upon a producer by his or
her seed company.
/Web site: http://www.acga.org /
Subject: GMO's and Europe's banking community