DECATUR, ILL. – Agricultural companies are giving a lack of approval in export markets as a reason for not accepting products with a bioengineered corn trait from Syngenta. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the trait, Agrisure Duracade, about a year ago.
Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Ill., will not accept any commodity that contains the new corn trait until key export markets approve the corn trait, an ADM spokesperson said Feb. 24. Bunge Ltd., White Plains, N.Y., has told its farmer customers that Agrisure Duracade is one of the traits Bunge will not accept at this time, a Bunge spokesperson said. For export contracts, Minneapolis-based Cargill will not accept delivery of any commodity containing the Duracade trait, said Mark Klein, director of communications for Cargill.
On Feb. 28, 2013, Syngenta, based in Basel, Switzerland, reported the U.S. D.A. had fully deregulated Agrisure Duracade, which would enable its launch in the United States in the 2014 planting season. Agrisure Duracade expresses a protein to control rootworm, according to Syngenta. U.S.D.A. data showed a tenfold reduction in Western corn rootworm beetle emergence and superior performance against all comparable traits, according to Syngenta.
ADM reserves the right to test deliveries and decline those that contain Duracade, the company spokesperson said.
“Wide-scale planting of traits that aren’t approved by key importing countries would diminish the competitiveness of American grain and feed exports,” the ADM spokesperson said. “To help ensure the continued strength of U.S. agriculture, we’re all —farmers, elevators, processors and exporters — well-served by making certain that the crops and products we deliver are acceptable in key export markets. So, ADM is asking farmers to confirm that the seed they intend to plant this spring is approved for all major export markets, including China.
“If it’s not, we’d encourage them to check with their seed sales representative to see if their order can be exchanged for seeds that are approved for global use. We recognize it’s an extra step, but we’re confident it’s in the best interests of everyone involved in U.S. agriculture.”
Cargill reserves the right to reject and/or require testing of deliveries, Mr. Klein said. In its sole discretion at the time of delivery, Cargill will determine any acceptance, rejection or testing for the presence of Duracade.
“Cargill sees food and agricultural technologies, including genetically modified products, as powerful tools that can allow the agricultural industry to meet growing demand for food, feed and fuel,” Mr. Klein said. “Cargill is and continues to be a strong supporter of the development of new agricultural products when done in a responsible manner and will continue to work with its customers to bring these benefits to markets globally. As a grain handler and exporter, Cargill must operate its business in light of the approval status for various products in export markets and the requirements of all of its end-use customers.”
Farmers who chose to plant Agrisure Duracade may receive grain marketing opportunities, according to an agreement between Syngenta Seeds, Minnetonka, Minn., and Gavilon Grain, L.L.C. announced on Feb. 20 of this year. For farmers participating in the “Right to Grow” program, Gavilon will accept Agrisure Duracade grain at market price while providing stewardship and distribution services for producers.
The National Corn Growers Association, Chesterfield, Mo., provides information on the status of import approvals with key importing markets and reference stewardship plans in place through its “Know Before You Grow” web site at www.ncga.com/for-farmers/know-before-you-grow.
“We are pleased to see Syngenta’s efforts to administer a limited trait release of Agrisure Duracade that seeks to balance the importance of maintaining farmers’ access to technology while maintaining markets for U.S. corn,” said Martin Barbre, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “N.C.G.A. consistently strives to optimize opportunities for U.S. corn growers and values efforts from parties across the value chain to support achievement of our goals.”