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85 percent of wheat growers approve biotech petition


Eighty-five percent of Colorado wheat growers responding to a recent National Association of Wheat Growers survey approved a petition supporting the commercialization of biotechnology in wheat. Nationwide, 76 percent of wheat growers approved the petition.

"We, in Colorado, are excited about the results of the survey. It indicates strong interest in technology here," said Dave Anderson, Haxtun, Colorado Association of Wheat Growers president. "I am optimistic that the technology providers will take note of that."

The survey was commissioned by NAWG as a project of the NAWG Foundation to measure and document the level of support for biotech trait commercialization among wheat growers.

Anecdotal evidence has long suggested many wheat producers would like biotech traits in their arsenal, and national wheat organizations support biotech commercialization. However, private technology providers need to be assured of ground-level support for their efforts before undertaking the decade-long, multimillion-dollar path toward commercialization of a trait.

"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."

To date, the survey has enjoyed a 32 percent response rate, with approval rates similar across states and farm sizes. The survey was mailed in January and February to about 21,000 U.S. producers with more than 500 acres of wheat and 1,000 acres in total production. The survey was sent to 783 Colorado producers and 264 (34 percent) responded to the survey with 224 (85 percent) approving the petition and 40 (15 percent) disagreeing with it.

More information about the petition and survey is available online at www.wheatworld.org/biotech. Items posted there include the full petition language, an expanded Q and A about the effort and numerical break-outs of results by state and farm size.

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