During a recent speech – Ag Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stated that he supports a full Environmental Impact Study for all new biotech traits.
The American Soybean Association has responded with a letter to the Secretary. The standard procedure right now is to do an environmental assessment and depending on the results of the assessment, the USDA would then determine if there needed to be a full environmental impact study. So, it was response to support the procedure that’s already in place as it currently operates.
That’s American Soybean Association President Rob Joslin. He explains the possible consequences if an Environmental Impact Study is required for each new biotech trait...
If the USDA determines to go ahead and do a full environmental impact study it delay the introduction of new biotech traits which our farmers and consumers need in the market place. Bu, it would also add to the cost, and be very onerous if they would decide to go with this, when the existing procedure seems to work very well.
Joslin says biotech-enhanced crops benefit both farmers and consumers. Technology and biotech is what farmers in the United States and really all over the world are going to need to meet the demands for food. The demand for food is going to double in the next 30 years, biotech traits will allow consumer based needs to be introduced and I think that will be the clear benefit for everybody.
In addition, Joslin has appointed a 2012 Farm Bill Working Group to develop soybean priorities in advance of House Ag Committee hearings on the next farm bill: We really believe we need good input from the southerners because Chairman Peterson talks about the need to improve the safety net. As a northerner, farmer from Ohio I don’t fully understand the need the production risks that you guys have, so we’re going to have really good input from the southerners on that.
Joslin revealed that ASA has been working with the National Corn Growers Association and National Association of Wheat Growers to develop common positions on key farm bill issues.
Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson is asking all commodity groups to describe what changes they would make in current farm programs - including if a budget reconciliation bill next year requires a 10-percent cut in spending on agriculture programs...
It’s chairman Peterson’s indication that he’s going to let the commodity groups to decide how they want to utilize the scoring. He’s going to give us a number, and we’re going to go back, now he also said he might have to cut that number, and that’s not what I really want for our American Soybean producers, but we’re going to work with, and get the best safety net, and the best farm bill for both northerners and southerners.
Peterson has said he plans to draft a new farm bill early next year and mark up the House version prior to August 2011.