NABC Annual Meeting

jbs11 at jbs11 at
Thu Apr 17 17:06:11 EST 1997

Agricultural Biotechnology: Resource Management in Challenged Environments

   Today's agricultural industry faces a number of important challenges.
One of the most critical is the need to feed an increasing world
population despite a shrinking natural resources base challenged by global
climate change, desertification, environmental pollution and other
stresses. Social and political pressures require that the agricultural
industry meet these challenges in an ethical and economical fashion,
ensuring environmental stewardship and conservation of biodiversity.
   Recent advances in agricultural biotechnology have led to the
development and commercialization of many products that promise to sustain
and/or increase food production. The goal of NABC 9, sponsored by the
National Agricultural Biotechnology Council,  is to focus dialogue and
debate on the ability of the agricultural industry to address political
and regulatory issues as agricultural biotechnology products move from the
research and development stage to the commercial arena, and the use of
these new agricultural biotechnology products to meet the needs of
producers in challenged environments.
   Although Saskatchewan, with 50 percent of the Canada's arable land,
supports a multi-billion dollar agricultural business,  producers face
climatic and geographical challenges. Long, very cold winters, followed by
hot, dry summers with limited precipitation hinder crop production. As a
land-locked province, all agricultural products must be shipped by truck
or rail hundreds or thousands of miles for export. Saskatchewan's
agricultural industry has met these challenges as innovative producers
readily adapt new technologies and management practices to meet market
demands. In fact, excellent university and government research facilities
have made Saskatchewan an internationally recognized center for
agricultural research. This has led to Saskatchewan becoming one of the
world¹s premier ag-biotechnology centers, as a multitude of national and
international companies establish their presence in the province.

1) to promote an understanding of the problems faced by the agricultural
industry in managing and utilizing natural resources in ecosystems facing
environmental and geographical challenges.
2) to assess the potential of agricultural biotechnology products to
enhance agricultural production in challenged environments, while at the
same time maintaining sustainability and conserving biodiversity.
3) to focus debate on the multiple social, ethical, regulatory and
economical issues and opportunities that agricultural biotechnology
products pose to consumers, farmers, industry, public interest groups,
government and academics.
4) to create a better understanding of the problems and tools associated
with using agricultural biotechnology products in challenged environments.

   The first keynote address, Ag Biotechnology in the 21st Century: The
Promise and the Pitfalls, will highlight the potential of biotechnology to
allow agriculture to continue to meet the basic needs of an ever-growing
human population. The talk, which will be presented by Robert W. Herdt,
Director for Agricultural Sciences and Acting Director for Global
Environment at The Rockefeller Foundation,  will focus on some of the
possible problems which must be addressed in order to responsibly use the
   Mark Winfield, Director of Research with the Canadian Institute for
Environmental Law and Policy, will present the second talk entitled, Can
We Trust Ag Biotechnology to Solve Our Problems? Winfield will argue that
biotechnology cannot solve problems of food and resource sustainability.
Societal perception of the risks associated with biotechnology will limit
its usefulness, and alternative strategies must be developed.
   The second and third days of the meeting feature plenary discussions by
speakers known to provoke thought and debate about the issues. Among the
speakers are: Rick Walter, Director, Canadian Institute of Biotechnology,
Albert Robertson, a Saskatchewan Farmer, Joyce Groote, President,
Industrial Biotechnology of Canada, and Sheila Forsyth, Chair, National
Agricultural Environment Committee.
   Murray McLaughlin, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food,
Saskatchewan, will present a luncheon talk on the development of the
agricultural biotechnology industry in Saskatchewan.
Timothy Reeves, Director General of the International Center for Maize and
Wheat Improvement,  will present the final plenary talk entitled The Role
of Biotechnology in Feeding the Worlds Poor. Reeves will globalize the
focus from Saskatchewan to the world.

The NABC 9 registration is CDN $200 (CDN $230 for non-NABC members) on or
before April 30, 1997. This rate applies to faculty, staff and students of
a NABC member institution. Included in the fee are registration materials,
breaks, continental breakfasts on June 2 and 3,  lunches on June 2 and 3,
the dinners on June 1 and 2, and the meeting Report. U.S. Registrants: it
is recommended you use a credit card to pay fees or a bank draft or money
order in Canadian funds.
On-site and late registration (after April 30, 1997) will be an additional
CDN $50. Cancellations will be accepted minus a $50.00 processing fee.
Sorry, no refunds will be granted after May 15, 1997. Substitutions will
be accepted. Registration will be at the Delta Bessborough hotel on
Sunday, June 1, from 3:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Registration on Monday,
June 2, will also be at the Delta Bessborough Hotel from 7:30 a.m.  See
Registration Form for additional details. All sessions (except the wrapup)
will be held at the Delta Bessborough. Tours of various local facilities
will be offered immediately following the meeting. 
   Please email the NABC Office at NABC at or call 607-254-4856
for a registration brochure.

Registrants are responsible for their own accommodations.The Delta
Bessborough, located in downtown Saskatoon near shops and restaurants, can
be booked by calling:
   locally, (306) 244-5521
   central reservations in Canada, 1-800-268-1133, and
   central reservations number in   the U.S., 1-800-877-1133
   Please quote the NABC group affiliation computer code name to receive
the special rate ‹  ³The National Agricultural Biotechnology Council,
GFNABC." Single rooms are CDN $77.00; double rooms are CDN $82.00. A block
of rooms is being held until May 2, 1997.

Jane Segelken, Executive Coordinator
National Agricultural Biotechnology Council

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