Plant Genetic Engineering

Jacks, Thomas J. tjacks at COMMSERVER.SRRC.USDA.GOV
Mon Nov 1 11:36:28 EST 1999

> November 1, 1999
> from a press release
> WASHINGTON -- The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA), met with
> Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman last Thursday to encourage the
> Department of Agriculture (USDA) to abandon the research and development
> of the Terminator technology.  USDA holds a co-patent for this technology
> with Delta & Pine Land Company.
> Terminator is the name given to a genetic engineering technique that
> renders second generation seed sterile, preventing farmers from keeping
> back seed for the next growing season.  This technique forces farmers to
> purchase new seed every year.
> In the meeting, the ACGA expressed disappointment that USDA would use
> public dollars to help develop a technology that is not in the best
> interest of nor benefit to production agriculture.
> "The ACGA expects more from our Department of Agriculture. We expect
> advocates for farmer rights and wellbeing.  We expect partners working to
> expand our domestic and overseas markets.  We expect a resource of
> valuable information that can make our farms more profitable.  We DO NOT
> expect public funding for research that makes seed sterile," said Gary
> Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer of the ACGA.
> Among others joining the ACGA at the meeting with the Secretary was the
> Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA and the National Family
> Farm Coalition. Collectively, the following recommendations were made to
> the Secretary:
> -- USDA should cease negotiations with Delta & Pine Land on the licensing
> of it's jointly held patent and abandon all research on genetic seed
> sterilization, including research grants to university scientists.
> -- USDA should adopt a strict policy prohibiting the use of taxpayer
> dollars to support genetic seed sterilization.
> -- USDA should use public research dollars to re-invigorate public plant
> breeding for family farmers and sustainable agriculture.
> -- USDA should insure that farmers and citizens are involved in
> determining research priorities.
> "Having a handful of biotechnology companies controlling the production
> and distribution of seed makes farmers hostage to the economic
> exploitation by this industry.  We will lose our ability to choose the
> seeds we want to plant and the option of holding back that seed for
> another year," added Goldberg.
> "The ACGA appreciates the time that the Secretary gave to us to discuss
> this important issue.  We urge him to address our concerns and
> re-institute trust in the USDA as an advocate for production agriculture,"
> concluded Goldberg.
> SOURCE  American Corn Growers Association
> Web site:

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