ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

9 April 2003


 * UK OKs Syngenta application for new GM wheat trial
 * Agribusiness takes most seats on USDA biotech panel
 * Poll shows concern over biotech wheat at ND grain elevators
 * Monsanto's new logo - IMAGINE!


UK OKs Syngenta application for new GM wheat trial

 Reuters, 04.08.03, 8:01 AM ET

 Veronica Brown

 LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) - Britain has approved a new field trial of  genetically modified (GM) wheat, as hundreds of U.S. farm groups press  for a  moratorium on its full-scale introduction amid trans-crop contamination  worries about one of the world's most important foods.

 A spokesman from Britain's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs  (DEFRA) said on Tuesday an application from Syngenta Seeds Ltd, part of  Syngenta AG <SYNZn.VX, to release GM wheat had been approved for a field  research site to be run by the company.

 "They are purely research and development trials on their own site in  Berkshire (southern England)," the spokesman told Reuters.

 But organic campaigners said that the development was worrying.

 More than 200 groups representing farmers and the organic sector in Canada  and the United States are calling for a ban on GM wheat due to fears that  one of the world's most lucrative and widely grown commodities could be  contaminated by manipulated genes.

 UK organic group, The Soil Association, has said GM soya, maize and oilseed  rape could have cost the U.S. economy eight billion pounds since 1999 in  farm subsidies, lower crop prices, loss of major export orders and product  recalls.

 It also said that farmers are not achieving the higher profits promised by  the biotechnology companies.

 "This has been so fiercely fought against in America and Canada because  non-GM farmers there are so concerned about contamination and they are  fighting really hard to ensure that GM wheat is not introduced there  commercially," Soil Association spokeswoman Sue Flook said.

 Britain is expected to make a decision later this year on whether to grow  gene-spliced crops commercially, but shoppers -- bruised by a string of food  scares such as mad cow disease -- are wary.

 Scientists say gene technology could solve world hunger, with GM crops that  produce higher yields and are insect, disease and drought resistant.

 Opponents say growing such crops could change the face of the countryside,  by contaminating traditional varieties.

 The government announced a national public debate on GM crops in Britain  earlier this year, but drew criticism early when it confirmed a major  scientific review of the technology would end before the field trials  finish.

 UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher, who has spoken out against GM  crops, said recently that Britain might implement new measures to protect  organic farmers in the event of their crops being contaminated by  gene-spliced varieties.

 No-one from Syngenta Seeds Ltd could be reached immediately for comment.


Agribusiness takes most seats on USDA biotech panel

 Source - Reuters Securities News (Eng)

 Wednesday, April 09, 2003  03:29

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) - Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman on  Tuesday gave agribusinesses and farm industry groups most of the seats  on a federal advisory committee responsible for examining the future of biotech  crops.

The 18 committee members will meet as USDA implements new restrictions  on the planting of experimental pharmaceutical plants and reviews Monsanto's  application for the commercialization of the first biotech wheat crop.

Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont , General Mills, Procter & Gamble, BASF  Plant Science, CropTech Corp. and the North Mississippi Grain Co. were  each given one seat.

The National Corn Growers, American Seed Trade and the National  Association of Wheat Growers also have members on the committee.

"This committee will take a forward look at agriculture  biotechnology and will serve as an important resource as USDA addresses  emerging issues related to this field," Veneman said.

USDA spokeswoman Alisa Harrison would not elaborate on what biotech  issues the committee will examine.

The remaining seven seats were given to academic experts, consumer  groups and an international plant research center in Mexico. The Union  of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Science in the Public  Interest were each given a spot.


Poll shows concern over biotech wheat at ND grain elevators

 @griculture online

 A recent poll of North Dakota grain elevator operators showed a substantial  level of concern over the potential commercialization of biotech wheat. The  Minneapolis-based watchdog group Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy  sent a survey to 317 North Dakota grain elevators; 52 of them responded. The  survey targeted North Dakota because the state is the top producer of hard  red spring wheat, and spring wheat is the first genetically engineered wheat  variety slated for commercial release.

 Of the respondents, 98% said they were either very concerned (82%) or  somewhat concerned (16%) about the proposed introduction of genetically  engineered Roundup Ready wheat. In addition, 78% said they supported an  expanded public review of biotech wheat compared with the USDA process  undergone previously for genetically modified crops.

 "This survey reflects serious concern among North Dakota wheat elevator  operators about the potential adverse economic impacts of GE (genetically  engineered) wheat," said Dennis Olson, Senior Associate at the Institute.  "It also shows strong support for a more comprehensive public review of GE  wheat introduction than USDA has previously required for other crops."

 The elevators ranked loss of export markets as their greatest concern  related to GE wheat commercialization. Second on their list of worries was  the feasibility of creating a workable segregation system.

 Monsanto petitioned USDA's Animal Health & Inspection Service for approval  of its Roundup Ready wheat variety last December. The approval could  come in  time for commercialization ahead of the 2004 spring planting season.


Monsanto's new logo
Putting the 'Ag' in Imagine

 4/8/02003, Edited by Willie Vogt, E-Content Director, Farm Progress  Corporate logos and slogans are supposed to be remembered. They aim to  create a feeling, an emotion, or engender some kind of loyalty. This week  Monsanto will tie the word "imagine" to agriculture to create its own  approach to the market.The company is adding the tagline "Imagine" with an  emphasis on the "ag" that it says "reflects the company's strategic focus  on investing in and developing new agronomic tools.In a press statement  announcing the new tagline, Kathryn Kissam, Monsanto's Corporate Marketing  Lead, comments: "Our Imagine tagline invites people to reflect on the  real-life benefits the technology is delivering today and encourages them  to imagine the promising solutions that this technology and other plant  science technologies are poised to deliver in the future."The company has  even redesigned its Web site -, to incorporate the new logo.

 It may well be that if Saddam's regime falls there will be dancing on  the streets of Basra. But then, if the Bush regime were to fall, there  would be dancing on the streets the world over. - Arundhati Roy,3604,927712,00.html


 from Schnews:  The Labour Party have a Freepost address, which means  they have to pay the postage on anything you send them. Please don't  send bricks or heavy phone directories to: The Labour Party, FREEPOST  LON 10417, London, SW1P 4UT. All the local party offices also have  freepost addresses that can be found on election leaflets

 'Mark Seddon, a member of Labour's National Executive Committee, claimed  such donations were causing Labour to lose members amid criticism from  the grassroots that the party was now "in the pockets of the powerful  and the rich".

 He told the Today programme: "In any other country I think a government  minister donating such vast amounts of money and effectively buying a  political party would be seen for what it is, a form of corruption of  the political process." '

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