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Streamlining biotech production in ag

Streamlining biotech production in ag

President Trump signed an executive order yesterday to help bring products to farmers faster

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A recent action from President Trump is designed to allow farmers to access new biotech products as soon as possible.

Speaking yesterday in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the president signed an executive order directing federal agencies including the USDA and EPA to streamline the regulatory approval process for biotechnology products. Both genetically modified seeds and animals fall under this category.

Making the review process easier will help farmers “get access to critical scientific advances faster and reap the full benefits of American innovation for many years to come,” he said.

Taking steps to advance innovation is important for trade.

U.S. farmers need new products to keep the national ag industry attractive for trading partners, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

“If we do not put these safe biotechnology advances to work here at home, our competitors in other nations will,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

Farm groups support President Trump’s executive order.

The American Soybean Association appreciates “the steps toward a more consistent, coordinated approach to the biotech regulatory system domestically and abroad,” Davie Stephens, president of the organization, said in a statement Wednesday.

Members of the plant breeding sector are also pleased with the president’s decision.

Bringing a new hybrid or variety to market can be quite a lengthy process, said Fred Below, a plant physiology professor at the University of Illinois.

“As far as new traits go, the process is long, it costs a lot of money and really can be an impediment to the development of new biotech traits,” he told Farms.com.

But while the U.S. may make bringing biotech products to market easier, that doesn’t mean trading partners will accept them, Below said.

“Different countries have different rules for biotech, so those countries would have to approve the U.S. product anyway,” he said.

Skip to 45:47 of the video to watch President Trump sign the executive order.



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