Biotechnology has proven to be an important tool for better sustainability and food security. It helps farmers grow more food while improving the environment. For example, biotechnology reduces the use of costly inputs and improves weed management, allowing farmers to reduce tillage for better soil, water and air quality. Today, roughly 90 percent of corn, cotton and soybeans grown in the U.S. have been improved through biotechnology, and farmers are choosing biotech traits when growing other crops such as alfalfa, sugarbeets and canola.
Despite rapid adoption by farmers and a strong scientific consensus that biotechnology does not pose health and environmental risks, regulatory burdens are slowing research and innovation of new biotech traits and are starting to reduce U.S. farmers’ international competitive advantage. In addition, activist groups routinely threaten the availability of new traits by blocking science-based regulatory decisions, filing lawsuits and advocating for labeling mandates.
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Access to Biotechnology
U.S. agriculture will maintain its competitive advantage in world markets only if we continue to support innovations in technology and grasp opportunities for future biotech products.
To improve regulation of biotechnology, Farm Bureau supports:
- USDA leading evaluations and approvals to move products to the marketplace in a timely manner;
- Agencies continuing to serve their respective roles in providing unbiased, scientifically-based evaluations;
- Agencies evaluating the regulatory approval process for possible improvements; and
- Initiatives to assist the research, development and regulatory review of biotech for specialty crops.
Farm Bureau encourages efforts to educate farmers to be good stewards of biotech crops to preserve access and marketability.
Labeling of Biotechnology Products
Farm Bureau believes agricultural products grown using approved biotechnology should not be subject to mandatory labeling. We support existing FDA labeling policies and oppose state policies on biotech labeling, identification, use and availability.
On July 29, 2016 the president signed S. 764, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, into law. While not perfect, S. 764 was a compromise that Farm Bureau endorsed. The law creates a uniform standard for the disclosure of ingredients derived from bioengineering and allows food companies to provide that information through an on-package statement, symbol or electronic disclosure. It also created a strong federal preemption provision to protect interstate commerce and prevent state-by-state labeling laws and was effective on the date of enactment. USDA has two years to develop the disclosure standards and Farm Bureau has been an active participant in the rulemaking process.
International Biotechnology Standards
Farm Bureau supports active involvement and leadership by the U.S. government in the development of international standards for biotechnology, including harmonization of regulatory standards, testing and LLP policies.
This resource can help set the record straight on GMOs, to correct misinformation and show why biotechnology is so important to agriculture.