Wheat Industry Strives to Create Choices

October 14, 2009 07:00 PM

Sara Schafer, AgWeb Crops Online Editor
Many challenges are facing the wheat industry. What are the next steps for wheat?
"The scientific issues are pretty straightforward,” says Darren Coppock, National Association of Wheat Growers CEO. "Companies can develop traits.”
Coppock says the major issues to over come revolve around market acceptance. "How are we going to make sure the markets are there?”
The fundamental principal in that whole discussion is the concept of choice, he says.
Coppock says regardless of type or the location of the consumers, they should have the opportunity to choose between wheat with or without GM traits.
Richard Phillips, Grain Growers of Canada executive director, says in Canada, both GM and non-GM soybeans, for example, have strong markets.
"If there's money in it for the farmer, they will sign on and grow the non-GM beans,” he says. The grain handlers find a way to identity-preserve it through the systems and low-tolerance levels are agreed upon. And, the system does work.
"Choice is very possible in soybeans, so it can be possible in wheat as well,” Phillips says.
Coppock and Phillips spoke during a conference call following the Wheat Summit which ended Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo.
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You can e-mail Sara Schafer at sschafer@farmjournal.com.

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