Clements: The Agriculture Department is seeking to update its biotechnology regulations for crops. USDA has proposed updates to regulations that outline how biotech crops are approved and utilized in agriculture. American Farm Bureau Federation congressional relations director Andrew Walmsley says it’s a chance to modernize the regulations.
Walmsley: It’s looking at how do we assess the plant-pest risk of biotech crops going forward and looking at how they should be regulated and making sure there’s consumer confidence. And so this is an opportunity to farmers and ranchers and the broader ag community to provide input to USDA on the regulations.
Clements: More than 100 agriculture groups across the nation penned a letter to USDA providing input on the proposed changes. Walmsley says, that if done correctly, the regulations will foster agriculture innovation.
Walmsley: The biggest concern for farmers and ranchers is that we obviously want to have confidence in our regulatory system that’s based on science, but also fosters an environment of innovation. And if USDA doesn’t get this right, the impact would be huge both for competitiveness for U.S. farmers and global markets while also maybe not unleashing the amount of innovation that we need particularly for our smaller seed companies and land-grant universities.
Clements: He says AFBF is working to make sure the new regulation works for farmers and ranchers.
Walmsley: Obviously, with a fun issue like biotechnology, there’s opinions on all sides. But, we look forward to working here in Washington with USDA to help them go through those comments and raise any additional concerns that we might have before they go any further with the final rule.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF