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U.S. Wheat Associates requests FAS study on biotech wheat marketing issues

(Thursday, July 10, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- U.S. Wheat Associates' Wheat Letter, 07/03/03: U.S. Wheat Associates, along with two other national wheat organizations, officially asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service to investigate the competitive challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. wheat industry in the export marketing of genetically modified wheat, which is expected to be commercialized by Monsanto in the next few years.

In a letter sent June 20 to FAS administrator Ellen Terpstra, USW, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the Wheat Export Trade Education Committee expressed their support of an earlier request by the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA). Those organizations, noting that a critical objective of FAS is to maintain foreign market intelligence for U.S. agricultural interests, specifically requested that FAS "conduct, analyze and provide a global market survey of strengths, weakness, threats and opportunities with respect to wheat produced with modern biotechnology."

Such a survey and analysis, NAEGA and NGFA point out, would be a "critical step in preventing further loss of United States market share in international wheat and wheat containing product markets." The results of USDA studies are publicly available. Got to http://www.uswheat.org .

Additionally, the wheat industry is awaiting the final report, expected soon, of a study conducted a year ago by the USDA Economic Research Service. The report, which has been peer reviewed and readied for publication, will provide insights on the economics of GM wheat. According to USDA sources, ERS economists Bill Lin, Demcey Johnson and Gary Vocke are scheduled to make a presentation on the subject on July 29 at the annual meeting of the American Agricultural Economics Association in Montreal.