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Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Monsanto’s Commitment to Support Trade Viability of Biotech Soybeans After Patent Expiration

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 8, 2010 – “Ensuring a viable international marketplace for biotech crops once their patents expire is a matter of extreme importance to America’s farmers and ranchers. Farmers who choose to continue planting a biotech crop no longer covered by patents, from either purchased or saved seed, must be able to count on those crops being accepted in international markets. Due to the often-shifting sands of international trade regulations, however, maintaining approval for any biotech crop can be an expensive, time-consuming matter.

“That is why we applaud an announcement made by Monsanto that it is willing to extend its international regulatory support for ‘Roundup Ready’ (RR1) soybeans until 2021. The patent to those soybeans expires in 2014. In the short-term, this extension provides additional security to help limit trade disruptions as the agriculture community works toward the goal of maintaining international approval for products no longer covered by patents.

“While this announcement is encouraging, Farm Bureau recognizes the need for a long-term approach to address a future where multiple generic biotech products will exist in the marketplace. To that point, we are committed to working through the industrywide dialogue hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, as well as through other channels as necessary to ensure that generic products are available to our farmers and that those products continue to have marketplace acceptance abroad. We look forward to working with all stakeholders on this issue in a constructive and transparent fashion.”

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Contacts: Tracy Taylor Grondine
(202) 406-3642
tracyg@fb.org
Mace Thornton
(202) 406-3641
macet@fb.org