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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) support the eventual commercialization of biotech wheat. USW works with industry partners to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the concerns of our overseas customers.

Wheat production and harvested areas are on a long-term, downward trend around the world. Net returns per acre to farmers often favors other crops and the differential is widening. An eventual supply and demand situation where smaller supplies of wheat are produced only in areas where more profitable alternatives do not exist will translate into supply challenges for the global food industry.

We must find new ways to grow more and better wheat with less impact on the environment. New research and plant breeding innovation in wheat, including biotechnology and gene editing, will help make this possible.

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USW is committed to ensuring that our customers can purchase the wheat they want and that trade disruptions are minimized. This requires a number of domestic and international policies.

Wheat Industry Biotechnology Position Statement

Biotechnological research holds great promise for the future, and the U.S. wheat industry recognizes these advancements. In preparation for the future commercialization of biotechnologically-derived wheat, we take the following positions:
  1. We support and will work to ensure the ability of wheat producers to make planting and marketing choices based on economic, agronomic, and market factors.
  2. We support the ability of our wheat customers to make purchases on the basis of specific traits. We commit ourselves to the principle that our customers’ needs are vitally important.
  3. We support and will assist in the development by all segments of the industry of an orderly marketing system to assure delivery of non-transgenic wheat within reasonable tolerances to markets that require it.
  4. We urge the adoption of a nationally and internationally accepted definition of biotechnologically-derived products1. We also urge international harmonization of scientific standards and trade rules.
  5. We support voluntary labeling of food products derived from biotech ingredients provided it is consistent with U.S. law and international trade agreements and is truthful and not misleading. We oppose federal or state mandated labeling of products based solely on the method of production, including foods derived from biotech ingredients, if they do not differ materially from their non-biotech counterparts.
  6. We support establishing low level presence (LLP2) policies for trade of wheat intended for food, feed and processing that are predictable, science-based and consistent with international guidelines. A workable LLP threshold should incorporate biological and logistical realities. We support a 5% LLP threshold on a trait specific basis as a reasonable level to achieve a cost effective approach. We further encourage governments to establish synchronized approval policies of biotech traits to minimize trade disruptions of biotech products.
  7. We are confident that biotechnology will deliver significant consumer and producer benefits and we support continued biotechnology research, and product and market development. We invite valued and interested customers to join with us in a working partnership to explore the emerging biotechnology industry.

1 U.S. Wheat Industry Definition: Biotechnologically-Derived (Genetically Modified Organisms). “Genetically modified organisms (commonly referred to as “transgenic”) are organisms derived from somatic cell fusion or direct insertion of a gene construct, typically but not necessarily from a sexually-incompatible species, using recombinant DNA techniques and any genetic transformation technology (e.g., bacterial vectors, particle bombardment, electroporation).”
2 Low Level Presence is the unintentional, low level presence, of an agricultural biotech product approved in one or more countries, but not yet approved in the importing country.

Latest version adopted by USW and NAWG Boards of Directors in January 2015.
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