Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Monday 12/30/13

USDA Still Looking for Comments on Biotech Coexistence

USDA is still struggling to find some common ground on biotech and non-biotech coexistence.

Last week, the department posted a notice in the Federal Register extending the comment period on ways people can work together to avoid conflicts between growers of biotech and non-biotech crops. In USDA parlance, the department wants information "on ways to foster communication and collaboration among those involved in diverse agricultural production systems in order to further agricultural coexistence."

USDA originally posted its request Nov. 4 in the Federal Register with a comment period ending Jan. 3. As of now, the department has received only 59 comments on the coexistence conversation. Most of the comments regard ways to ban biotech crops altogether or or set up "GMO free zones." The University of California-Davis Cooperative Extension office submitted some information from a series of articles the extension did on biotech crop processes. There was little actual commentary on what USDA was most interested, "effective coexistence practices" between farmers for mitigating the economic risks of co-mingled pollination.

You may recall that USDA formed a committee on the issue of biotechnology and coexistence known as AC21 that examined issues such as compensation for contamination, voluntary practices, outreach and research.

Thus, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service posted a new notice last week in the Federal Register seeking to extend the comment period until March 4. USDA plans to eventually hold a public forum on the topic after the comment period ends.

More information about USDA's interest in coexistence strategies can be found through the original Federal Register posting. The docket folder also leads to comments already posted on the issue.…

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN.

Posted at 3:28PM CST 12/30/13 by Chris Clayton
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