Following is a joint statement from Dana Peterson, chief executive officer of the National Association of Wheat Growers; Alan Tracy, president of U.S. Wheat Associates; Mary Waters, president of the North American Millers’ Association and Lee Sanders, senior vice-president of the American Bakers Association, whose organizations jointly hosted the meeting.
“We were pleased to be able to come together today for the fourth Wheat Summit meeting with our colleagues from organizations spanning the depth and breadth of the wheat chain, from seedsmen to food companies.
“The Wheat Summit process started with a call to the industry on wheat’s competitiveness crisis. In the five years since that first meeting, we have seen a true resurgence of interest and investment by the public and private sectors in research and development of wheat. Some of this new engagement stems from grower support for the eventual commercialization of biotechnology traits in wheat, and some is a reaction to increased demand for plentiful, affordable and nutritious grains from a growing world population.
“Together we have identified a number of critical areas of agreement when it comes to paving the way for the responsible introduction of biotechnology — this follows our theme for the 2011 Summit — Moving Forward Together. As a guiding principle throughout our work, we hold as paramount the importance of choice for both the grower and the consumer. We are committed to guarding the high quality of our wheat through all technological innovations, since we know that is key to our continued competitiveness in the marketplace. Additionally, we recognize the need for reasonable tolerances to be set for biotech wheat in future non-biotech shipments.
“Our organizations will continue to work together on biotechnology issues in a variety of capacities, including work to track developments on the scientific and regulatory fronts; to educate stakeholders about the need for innovation in wheat; and to keep open the dialogue with all wheat chain participants on emerging technologies.
“We appreciate the time and engagement of those attending the Wheat Summit today and look forward to continuing to work together so our industry and our customers can benefit from the innovation we expect in the coming decade.”