E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


GMOs becoming 'Grain Market Outcasts,' holding down U.S. corn exports again

(Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2002-- CropChoice news) -- " U.S. 'Outstanding Sales' of corn were nearly 40 million bushels (nearly one million metric tons) and 24 percent below last marketing year at the same time," according to Dan McGuire, Director Farmer Choice - Customer First program of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA). "What's more, 'Accumulated Exports' of corn had not gained back the 40 million bushels lost last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Weekly Export Sales report as of the week ending August 22, 2002."

Larry Mitchell, CEO of the ACGA, called for a new investigation of the situation by the General Accounting Office (GAO). GAO released a report in June of 2001, Concerns Over Biotechnology Challenge U.S. Agricultural Exports, which stated that 'U.S. corn and soybean exports are most threatened by new foreign regulatory measures because of their biotech content.' "We now have a fairly good handle on our loss of corn exports due, in large part, to the loss of international confidence in our corn supplies from our questionable experiment with Genetically Modified (GMO) corn. What we do not know is how much this experiment has cost the grain marketing sector and the U.S. taxpayer. We must know these costs before we can make any sort of intelligent decision as to whether to continue on our present course, or wait until the science and public acceptance of GMO's have been properly established."

Mitchell explained that with lower exports, U.S. farm families have experienced lower prices for their harvests. He also pointed out that the U.S. taxpaying public offset some of this loss of income through the USDA Marketing Assistance Loan Program. Under the program, farmers are partially protected from lower prices through Loan Deficiency Payments (LDP) and Marketing Loss Gains (MLG). "Over $5.4 billion was spent on LDPs and MLGs for last year's crops so far, with over $1 billion spent on corn. We need to know what portion of that expense was caused by our loss of export markets due to GMOs and what lower corn prices and higher seed costs meant to farm families' bottom economic line."

"U.S. corn gluten feed and meal exports are also down significantly over the last few years, added McGuire. "The current corn-marketing year (MY 2001/02) export data is confirming that there is a year-over-year cumulative GMO-driven export loss continuing for both corn and corn gluten. Foreign importers and consumers continue to have health questions along with environmental, corporate seed and patent control issues and market concentration concerns regarding GMOs. They're choosing alternatives. 'GMO' now seems to stand for 'grain market outcasts.'

ACGA's Farmer Choice-Customer First provides unbiased, honest, and objective information to the nation's corn producers. The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. Website at www.ACGA.org.