ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
Date:  14 March 2001


News From the American Corn Growers Association - For immediate release
Contact: Dan McGuire, 402-467-5237
Larry Mitchell, 202-835-0330

ACGA Recommends that Congress Investigate Drop in Corn Exports and Warns
That Inadequate GMO Policy Combined With Failed Farm Policy Threatens Farmers and The Rural Economy

WASHINGTON - March 15, 2001 - The American Corn Growers Association
(ACGA) is warning U.S. farm and government leaders that their anti-export policies regarding GMOs, combined with current failed farm policy, is a major threat to the economic health of rural America.

"As the week of March 9th came to a close U.S. corn growers heard more bad news that can only be described as negative for corn prices," said Keith Dittrich, ACGA President and corn farmer from Tilden, Neb. "Japan and South Korea are buying non-GMO corn from Brazil and China instead of buying U.S. corn. USDA lowered its corn export forecast by another 50
million bushels. We expect they will lower the forecast again and it’s doubtful that U.S. corn exports will even reach 2 billion bushels this  year.

The reduction is a direct result of GMOs in general and their unacceptability with world buyers. It’s good to see that USDA and other farm groups recognize the problem with StarLink in the seed supply, but the problem is bigger than StarLink," added Dittrich. "For a number of
years now the ACGA has been sounding the alarm with farmers and their organizations, the grain industry and the government."

International news services reported that Brazil is basking in a confluence of bullish factors for its corn export program, a weak and still falling currency and fears over biotechnology among some of the world’s largest corn importers. As the result of their weaker currency, compared to the U.S. dollar, Brazil is offering corn at a $10 per ton cheaper FOB export price than U.S. prices. One estimate says that Brazil may export more than a million metric tons of corn this year in direct
competition with the U.S

"U.S. farmers cannot be expected to pick up the tab for a shortsighted U.S. biotech policy that suggests foreign consumers and importers will ultimately be forced to accept GMOs, said Dittrich.  "It’s time for the Administration, the U.S. Congress and the farm and commodity organizations that support current farm and GMO policies to admit that they’re wrong on both counts. These two policies are throwing away our export markets while driving down corn prices and driving up federal farm program costs. Both policies are major failures. They need to be changed quickly before their negative impact is reflected in land values and the farm economy is thrown into a major collapse," concluded Dittrich.

The ACGA recommends that Congress immediately investigate this drop in exports and related drop in prices. This investigation should focus on the effects of GMO's on the marketplace and the failures of the current and past farm bills to increase export market share of basic commodities.

To protect American corn growers, the ACGA instituted their successful  “Farmer Choice-Customer First” Program to provide unbiased, objective and honest information centering on the continued uncertainties created by the whole genetically modified crop situation.

The American Corn Growers Association represents over 14, 000 corn growers in 35 states.

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