AFBF Encouraged by USDA Biotech Proposal Withdrawal


The USDA Animal Plant Heath and Inspection Service Monday announced the withdrawal of biotech regulations proposed at the end of the Obama administration to get more stakeholder input. AFBF congressional relations director Andrew Walmsley says the move brings an opportunity to improve the rule…

“We’re supportive of what USDA did to push ‘pause’ and make another commitment to engage with stakeholders to improve the rules to make sure that we have an environment that’s friendly to innovation while also respecting the needs of our international customers before we come to a final resolution on any new regulation moving forward.”

Walmsley explains the concerns of the agriculture industry of the now withdrawn proposal…

“There were some positives, especially how USDA was viewing new breeding techniques such as genome editing, but there was also some concerns on how traditional biotechnology production practices might be regulated in the futures and what that means for innovation and research and development. 

“So, this provides an opportunity for USDA to make sure we’ve got the best regulatory program and policy for new breeding techniques for biotechnology and innovation in general for agriculture.”

He expects USDA will reveal more information on the plan moving forward later this month…

“They’ve got a meeting coming up November 15th just outside Washington DC,  that allows folks to come visit with the agency.  I think they wanted to pull this rule back so they could engage, so I think that’s the first chance they can communicate with the public about next steps and next ideas, and we’ll see whatever process they set forward, but we expect a public comment period and plenty of opportunities to give that feedback back to the agency.” 

American Farm Bureau director of congressional relations Andrew Walmsley.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.