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Importance of exports requires extra steps for biotech corn

—By Rachel Schrage
Public Relations Team

Indiana Farm Bureau Vice President Randy Kron serves on the U.S. Grains Council’s biotechnology advisory team, a position to which he was appointed by the USGC’s board of directors. He has some advice for Indiana farmers.

Because exports are now more important than ever, Kron suggests that farmers take no risks this season and isolate corn with biotech traits unapproved by Europe and China.

“Keep that corn isolated,” he said. “Make sure that it will only be used domestically, and know that taking it to an ethanol plant no longer ensures that it won’t be shipped overseas. Do your homework before you plant, because once it’s in the ground, it’s too late.”

The USGC’s primary goal is to bring agriculture and agribusiness together to expand and develop export markets, and the members of the advisory teams are charged with helping to make that happen.

The issues of key importance to the USGC fall into five categories: trade policy, biotechnology, grain supply, value of trade and food security. The biotechnology committee’s focus is to look at the issues and policy affecting the export of biotech crops to other countries. The USGC aims to help other countries understand that biotech crops are just as safe and nutritious as traditional crops, though many governments still reject them as unnatural. The USGC encourages governments to adopt policies rooted in science and research and to realize the advantages of biotech crops.

In recent months, China has been rejecting US corn shipments because of the presence of an unapproved strain. According to Kron, China is slow to approve biotech traits found in American grains.

“It is important that farmers talk to their seed companies and grain elevators before planting this season,” Kron said. “Be sure to ask if the traits in the corn you’re planting are approved all over the world, and ask your grain elevator whether they’re marketing nationally or internationally.”

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