A visit by a delegation of Chinese officials to the U.S. Grains Council's headquarters in Washington, D.C. was not scheduled before the recent controversy over a GMO trait in corn and distillers grains. However the timing couldn't be better, according to an article on the Council's website (http://bit.ly/…).
The Council recently educated members of China's State Administration of Grain on U.S. corn quality and biotechnology issues. This was perfect timing because China's recently refused to accept shipments of U.S.-produced corn and distillers grains with the MIR 162 biotech trait produced by Syngenta Ag.
The delegation heard about the importance of biotechnology in U.S. agriculture, as well as the practical and environmental benefits of biotechnology. The Council's leaders also addressed the delegation's concerns on corn quality, storage issues and heavy metal contamination. USGC Manager of Global Trade Alvaro Cordero also presented the results of the 2013/2014 Corn Harvest Quality Report.
Farmers and Council board member Chip Councell from the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board told the delegation about the benefits he has experienced on his farm from biotech corn.
"I've planted GM varieties on my farm since 1996," Councell said in the article, "and I was able to report that this has significantly reduced insect damage, improved storage because we're now storing healthier corn, and dramatically reduced chemical usage. It seemed clear from the follow-up questions that the message got through. Biotechnology isn't just about increasing yield; it's about improving quality as well."
The Council plans to continue to work with Chinese officials and industry leaders to resolve the issues with biotech approvals.
Cheryl Anderson can be reached at Cheryl.email@example.com.
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