Wheat related groups make case for biotechnology

by Josh Sosland
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WASHINGTON — That biotechnology could arrest and reverse a decline in U.S. wheat acreage while helping assure adequate food supplies to combat world hunger was the conclusion of a white paper on wheat biotechnology published by a number of wheat industry groups Sept. 15. Organizations collaborating on the paper were the National Association of Wheat Growers, U.S. Wheat Associates, the North American Millers’ Association, the Independent Bakers Association, and the Wheat Foods Council. The eight-page paper outlines the jolt to the wheat economy because of the food grain’s diminishing competitiveness as an economic choice for farmers. Without addressing the problem, "wheat is on a path to becoming a minor crop," the groups said. The rapidity with which agricultural biotechnology has been adopted for other crops and grower support for bioengineered traits lend credence to the idea that biotechnology may make a significant contribution, the groups said. While powerfully supportive of the introduction of bioengineered wheat, the groups also described as "critical" the continuing availability of non-bioengineered wheat for domestic and export customers.

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