News last update:6 Aug 2012

Biotech products could harm feed exports

Ethanol industry leaders say a new biotech product that helps corn fight off pests could end up in exported animal feed and risk the industry's relationship with foreign markets.

The Renewable Fuels Association, a leading industry group, expressed its concerns over the product Agrisure RW corn rootworm trait developed by Syngenta Seeds Inc. in a letter sent to Syngenta's seed executives. The letter said the trait has not been approved for export markets but is being sold to growers inIllinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The association said the trait could end up in exported distillers grains, a byproduct of ethanol production that is fed to livestock.

"There is a risk that the shipment would be rejected by the importing customer, permanently damaging the U.S. ethanol industry's relationships with these important markets," association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. He asked Syngenta executives to "ensure this product stays out of unapproved market channels" by educating customers of marketing issues and removing dry mill ethanol facilities from its lists of points of sale for grain containing the trait.

Jeff Gox, Syngenta's global head of corn and soybeans, said without products like Agrisure RW, farmers won't be able to keep up with the ethanol industry's demand.
"New technologies that improve crop yield and quality will be the critical enablers in growers' efforts to meet the escalating demand brought on by the skyrocketing ethanol industry and still meet the needs of the livestock and export industry" Cox responded.

Lack of approval
Last year, 12 million metric tons of distillers grains were produced in the United States, with exports making up more than 10% of sales. Most of the product originated in Nebraska, Illinois and Iowa, the nation's top ethanol producers. Last month, the Iowa Corn Growers Association noted that Agrisure RW lacks approval in major export markets including Japan and Mexico.
"We owe it to our growers to provide information when this could limit their ability to market their corn after harvest this fall," Bob Bowman, a corn grower from DeWitt and member of the National Corn Growers trade policy working group, said.

Related websites:
Renewable Fuels Association  
Syngenta Seeds Inc

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(Source: Associated Press)


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