|U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.|
APHIS oversees the importation, interstate movement and environmental release of genetically engineered organisms to ensure they do not pose a plant pest risk. This important work will continue as APHIS re-engages with stakeholders.
The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), and the American Soybean Association (ASA) along with many other ag organizations support the USDA’s effort to update the USDA’s biotechnology regulations.
“The USDA’s regulatory requirements must be clear, transparent, and open to stakeholder engagement,” said Chandler Goule, chief executive officer of NAWG. “Today’s actions by the agency are a step in the right direction and we are pleased to see the agency working to improve its communication with the public. It is encouraging to see that the agency is listening to ag industry stakeholders to provide an efficient and transparent review process that doesn’t restrict innovation. NAWG will be sure to continue the dialogue with the USDA to represent the innovation researchers expect to bring to wheat and the U.S. wheat grower.”
Perdue, concerned with food sustainability for the growing population, urged for a rule that is both flexible and adaptable.
The NCGA applauded Perdue on his efforts to regulate biotechnology rule.
"The proposed rule had desirable elements, but the deficiencies found in key areas would have rendered the overall product unworkable for innovation and America’s farm families,” said Kevin Skunes, president of the NCGA. “On behalf of America’s corn farmers, I commend Secretary Perdue for the serious nature with which he has approached this important and sizable task. The intent he has expressed in regard to working with stakeholders is heartening, and we look forward to collaborating with him to ensure that our nation’s system regulating all agricultural technologies facilitates both the current and future needs of innovations important to families both on and off the farm.”
The ASA supported the positive message that the USDA outlined regarding certain gene-editing techniques, but the ASA noted the need to significantly revise the rest of the rule arguing that as written, it would have stifled innovation and increased the regulatory burden on the agriculture industry.
“ASA will continue to engage with the agency to promote innovation and advancements in agriculture while advocating for a science-based regulatory system for biotechnology,” the association said.
More information about the regulation will be on the USDA APHIS website as it becomes available.