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From Agribusiness Examiner # 109 (March 19, 2001) By Al Krebs

FARMER TO FARMER CAMPAIGN ON GE IN AG LAUNCHES FARMBELT AD BLITZ; ISSUES WARNING ON DECLINING CORN EXPORTS

In a print and radio advertising blitz targeting key Midwestern states, the Farmer to Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture has launched a farmbelt campaign urging farmers to look at the declining export markets for genetically engineered crops before making final planting decisions this spring.

The campaign is encouraging farmers to consider the impact GE crops will have on export markets and to call 1-800-639-FARM to get more information on GE crops.� The ad campaign targets corn and soybean farmers in five states including Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and South Dakota.� The campaign is a grassroots effort that is intended to provide balanced information on genetic engineering from a farmer perspective.

Bill Christison, a Missouri farmer and president of the National Family Farm Coalition, said that providing farmers with a non-industry perspective on genetic engineering is critical at this time.

"Family farmers are seeing overseas markets shrink partly because of GMO seed.� Our prices are already low and these market declines can only do more harm.� The Farmer to Farmer Campaign is encouraging farmers to consider this problem when they buy their seed this spring."

The ads highlight recent negative market developments brought on by GE crops, including:

* USDA recently lowered its forecast of corn exports for the marketing year by 90 million bushels, a cut private analysts say is largely due to the impact of the contamination of the corn crop by the genetically modified corn Starlink (Des Moines Register: February 25, 2001)

* Projected U.S. corn exports are reduced because some importers, especially Japan, are expected to minimize purchases of varieties of corn not approved for some, or all, uses. (USDA WASDE: March 8, 2001)

* Brazil has won its first contract to supply Spain with 150,000 tons of non-GMO corn. They sold it at a 15-cent premium. In 1999, the U.S. lost $200 million in sales of corn to Spain and Portugal alone. A leader of a Brazilian cooperative said Brazil may export GMO-free corn to Japan. (Reuters)

* Europe is buying non-GMO soybeans.� From 1995-2000, the US has lost 14.3% of its export market share in soybeans, while Brazil's market share has climbed 10.7% (USDA PS&D Database)

* As of the third week in February, the combined total of accumulated

U.S. corn exports and outstanding U.S. corn export sales to Japan is 65 million bushels less then at this time last year. (USDA- FASonline, U.S.

Export Sales as of 2/22/2001)

The Farmer-to-Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture is a

collaborative effort among family farm organizations to promote the farmer perspective on genetic engineering in agriculture. The campaign works to bring the family farmer voice to development of policies related to genetic engineering in agriculture.

In November 1999, over thirty farm groups endorsed the Farmer's Declaration on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture, an initial effort of the campaign. Groups involved in the media effort are Dakota Rural Action, Illinois

Stewardship Alliance, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Land Stewardship Project, and Missouri Rural Crisis Center.

 



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