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Wheat groups announce goal of synchronized biotech introduction in U.S., Canada and Australia

Organizations representing the wheat industry in the United States, Canada and Australia announced May 14 they will work toward the goal of synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in the wheat crop.

Noting that "none of us hold a veto over the actions of others," they agreed it was in the best interest of all three producer communities to introduce biotechnology in a coordinated fashion to minimize market disruption.

The announcement came in a statement of joint principles on the issue of biotechnology in wheat, which has been a sensitive subject in some parts of the world, including major export markets in Europe and Asia. There is currently no commercial production of genetically modified wheat anywhere in the world.

The statement highlighted the importance of wheat to the food supply and declining acres in all three countries due in part to competition from crops that have the advantages of biotech traits. The statement also noted the slow growth trend of wheat yields compared to other crops and the lack of public and private investment in wheat research worldwide.

Noting that biotechnology is not the only answer to a host of agronomic questions facing wheat production, the groups agreed it could be a "significant component" to tackling major issues facing the industry.

U.S. organizations signing onto the statement include the National Association of Wheat Growers, U.S. Wheat Associates, and the North American Millers' Association. Canadian signatories include Grain Growers of Canada, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and Alberta Winter Wheat Producers Commission. Australian signatories include Grains Council of Australia, Grain Growers Association, and Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia (Inc.).

The full statement is available online at www.wheatworld.org/biotech and at http://www.uswheat.org/biotechnology.

U.S. Wheat Associates is the industry's market development organization working in 90 countries on behalf of America's wheat producers. The activities of U.S. Wheat Associates are made possible by producer checkoff dollars managed by 18 state wheat commissions and through cost-share funding provided by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.



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