During a two-day event in Washington, D.C., on March 22-23, the Council for Agriculture Science and Technology released a CAST Issue Paper titled Regulatory Barriers to the Development of Innovative Agricultural Biotechnology by Small Businesses and Universities. The celebration of National Ag Week (March 17-24) in D.C. complemented the release of the paper perfectly.
To roll out this important research paper, Dr. Alan McHughen, CE Biotechnology Specialist and Geneticist from the University of California-Riverside, presented highlights on March 22 at an event cohosted by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). On Friday, March 23, the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NC-FAR) hosted a morning Senate presentation and House of Representatives lunch seminar.
The original issue paper press release can be found here.
The full issue paper is available here–including a link to Dr. Alan McHughen’s presentation.
The Ag quickCAST one-page version is available here.
This link provides access to Dr. Alan McHugen’s presentation on CAST’s YouTube channel.
Thursday’s program at APLU was well attended and promoted insightful questions and discussion following the presentation. Dr. Alan McHughen concluded by stating, “Until the regulations change, not only scientists, but farmers, consumers, and the environment will continue to be denied potential benefits.”
Another statement included:
“It is important to remember that these innovations are tools. Genetic engineering is a tool. Instead of worrying about the tool, let’s worry about what we can do with that tool to reach the final product we are envisioning. Let’s regulate the product, not the process. Then we can evaluate the benefits and hazards.”
Conversations on the internet and various social media platforms regarding the release of this paper have been active. The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association shared their excitement for the release of the issue paper on Facebook stating, “U.S. laws and regulations surrounding agricultural biotechnology are extensive, unreasonably expensive, and in need of an update. Many of them were written in the 1980s before the techniques were completely understood. As a result, crop improvement innovations that could help both farmers and consumers have stayed stuck on shelves.”
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