The United States Soybean Export Council will help sponsor the International Biotechnology Symposium hosted by the Illinois Soybean Association in Champaign, Ill. on Aug. 26. Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, says use of biotech crops has helped boost U.S. production while delivering other benefits. The council is concerned the inconsistency in regulatory and trade approvals for biotech seed throughout the world will constrain trade and threaten food security. 

"Biotechnology allows us to produce crops in a more sustainable manner. We can see herbicide resistance, pest resistance and other traits that make the crop easier to grow. Other traits in the works, such as high-oleic soybeans, are lower in saturated fats and therefore healthier. Biotechnology enables us to get those traits into crops much faster, and allows us to better feed the world with less intensive farming practices   which is what sustainability really is all about," Sutter said.

Sutter says with dozens of new biotech seed events under development around the world, the potential exists for improved production practices for farmers and healthier food products for consumers. However, gridlock in the system prevents new seed event approvals.

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"There are lingering concerns about the safety of biotech. We need to continue to work together worldwide to communicate that sound science ensures the safety of biotechnology. Biotech products are a regular part of most people's lives   and are contained in everything from drugs to high-value food additives. For some reason when it comes to their use in agriculture, some people like to create skepticism and uncertainty. Unfortunately this can disadvantage those who can least afford it   the hungriest people of the world," said Sutter.

The International Biotechnology Symposium fosters discussions about ways to streamline regulatory and trade approvals for farmer use of biotech seed and the worldwide trade of soybeans, corn and other crops grown with biotechnology. The Illinois Soybean Association invites leaders in agriculture, food and trade from major grain importing and exporting countries to begin work on a solution. The symposium takes place the day before the 2013 Farm Progress Show in nearby Decatur, Ill. Those interested in attending can register at the symposium’s website.

In addition to the U.S. Soybean Export Council, other sponsors include Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences, Penton/Farm Progress, WinField, Bayer CropScience, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Nebraska Soybean Board and Ohio Soybean Council. The Illinois Soybean Association welcomes additional sponsors. Interested organizations can receive information by contacting Craig Ratajczyk, Illinois Soybean Associaton CEO, at +1.309.663.7692 or craigr@ilsoy.org