Survey shows strong support for biotech wheat

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — A new survey commissioned by the National Association of Wheat Growers shows a high level of support from wheat producers for the approval of bioengineered wheat.

According to the survey, 76% of respondents agreed with a "petition for your approval" sent out by the NAWG in January and February to wheat growers asking both public and private sectors "to support the discovery and development of new technologies for wheat — including but not limited to: breeding, biotechnology and other agronomic practices."

Of the 21,262 petitions sent out, 5,272 respondents agreed with its message while 1,635 disagreed. Only producers with more than 500 acres of wheat and 1,000 acres in total production were included in the survey.

"Until now, there has only been speculation about the breadth of grower support for biotechnology in wheat," said Daren Coppock, chief executive officer of the NAWG. "This petition was designed to gather those answers from across our wheat producing areas, and now we have an objective and clear answer."

The NAWG said it now will use the information from the survey for discussions with other members of the wheat value chain, trait providers, the media and the public.

In recent years Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG, two of the world’s largest biotechnology companies, have shelved plans for the development of bioengineered wheat, primarily because of consumer resistance.

To access the petition in its entirety, visit www.wheatworld.org/biotech.

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