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Biotechnology, trade, keys for wheat

July 7, 2009
The adoption of biotechnology and its impact on trade are seen as keys to expanding US wheat production. Yet acceptance of GM wheat seems to be touted more as a reclamation of corn and wheat acres, not as an agronomic or yield-oriented development.


July 8, 2009
By Corn & Soybean Digest

Topics

July 7, 2009

Cary Blake

The adoption of biotechnology, export expansion, and supplier reliability are crucial components to further bolster the US wheat industry —a $16.5 billion economic powerhouse in 2008.

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“Bringing biotechnology into the wheat realm is imperative for a healthy and expanding US wheat industry,” said Michael Edgar, Yuma, Arizona.

Edgar is nearing the completion of his one-year term as chairman of US Wheat Associates (USW), the industry’s export market development organization.


USW and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are collaboratively building industry support for the adaptation of biotechnology in wheat.


The two groups and the North American Millers’ Association, plus similar associations in Canada and Australia, announced in May the intent to work toward synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in wheat. The groups agreed that biotechnology in wheat should be introduced in a coordinated fashion to minimize market disruption.


Biotech wheat is currently not grown commercially in the world.


“Wheat has lost acreage in the United States to corn and soybeans due to competition from crops that have the advantages of biotech traits,” Edgar said.


More than three-quarters of the wheat growers responding to a NAWG survey approved a petition supporting the commercialization of biotechnology in wheat.


“Until now, there has only been speculation about the breadth of grower support for biotechnology in wheat,” said NAWG CEO Daren Coppock. “This petition was designed to gather those answers from across our wheat producing areas, and now we have an objective and clear answer.

Eyeing the export market, as well