National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Past President Ryland Utlaut is one of 10 U.S. representatives recently named to the United States-European Union Consultative Forum on Biotechnology.

During President Clinton's trip to Europe late last month, the United States and the EU agreed to establish the Consultative Forum to review and assess the issues associated with biotechnology.

The panel includes 20 eminent individuals from outside government who represent a broad cross section of U.S. and European perspectives and interests. Members will meet twice--once in the United States and once in Europe--prior to the December, 2000, U.S.-EU summit. At that summit, the forum will present a consensus report assessing biotechnology's benefits and risks, focusing on factors such as economic development, food security, food safety, health and the environment.

Utlaut farms 3,500 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat, in a family partnership, near Grand Pass, MO. He has been active for nearly 20 years in the Missouri and National Corn Growers Associations and serves as a member of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), which consults with the U.S. trade representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on agricultural trade issues. Utlaut has represented NCGA at various international meetings, including the World Trade Organization ministerials, in Geneva and Seattle. During the Seattle meeting, he had the opportunity to become acquainted with Portuguese Association of Maize Producers President Luis Vasconcelos e Souza, his European counterpart on the Consultative Forum.

"Given the importance of biotechnology to the nation's corn growers and all of agriculture, I welcome the opportunity to serve on the Consultative Forum," Utlaut said. "I look forward to working with the distinguished members of this panel to address the many issues surrounding biotechnology, and I am hopeful that our dialogue will foster broader awareness and acceptance of biotechnology's many benefits."

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