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Soybean leaders fear European-style regulations in U.S.

DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Soybean officials fear European-style regulations could be on the way, here at home.

Recently leaders in the American soybean industry returned from the 16th International Oilseed Producer’s Dialogue in Paris, France, and in a teleconference Monday, officials with the United Soybean Board and the American Soybean Association agreed that European perspectives on biotechnology are out of touch. United Soybean Board Chairman Jim Call reported that a father and son harvesting wheat at one progressive French farm were bringing in an astounding average yield of 126 bushels to the acre.

“What he brought up was that they would love to have GMO crops over there,” said Call of his conversation with the father. “And like I said, this is just one farmer we talked to. [His opinion] might not encompass all farmers over there, but he said some of the issues they were having with production problems, and herbicide and pest problems, would be eliminated if they were allowed to grow GMOs.”

Call said the French farmers brought up pending legislation in the European Union, which could cast the future of such high yields into doubt.

“They were talking about cutting their fertilizer application practices in half, and he said those 126-bushel wheat yields would go away, if that would happen. What I brought up was the fact that what happens over in Europe eventually trickles over here, because we’re dealing with the same NGOS that are pushing this type of legislation. [They’re] active here in the United States also, and have become very prevalent to U.S. agriculture in the last couple years.”

Call added that his South American colleagues at the IOPD also expressed similar concerns that European attitudes toward biotechnology would extend into regulations in their countries as well.