#Vote4Ag 2016: Presidential Responses: BIOTECHNOLOGY

Every four years, the American Farm Bureau Federation asks the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to address the issues that concern farmers and ranchers the most. We asked Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump the same questions.

trump-and-clintonAsk any student studying agriculture or food policy about Norman Borlaug and you’ll get an immediate positive response.  If you don’t know who he is, let me share this from the World Food Prize website.  They do a better job that I could.

“In 1970 Norman E. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for a lifetime of work to feed a hungry world. Although a scientist with outstanding contributions, perhaps Dr. Borlaug’s greatest achievement has been his unending struggle to integrate the various streams of agricultural research into viable technologies and to convince political leaders to bring these advances to fruition.”  Read more.

Agriculture is a thread that connects every American to each other.  And, our country’s competitive advantage in agriculture production can only be maintained by the continued support for technology, including the opportunities for future biotech products.

Technology enables farmers and ranchers to be more productive and efficient in using resources.  Biotechnology has proven to help farmers grow more food while improving the environment. It is an important tool for better sustainability and food security.   Yet, despite rapid adoption by farmers and a strong scientific consensus that biotechnology does not pose health and environmental risks, regulatory burdens are slowing research and innovation of new biotech traits.

Recently, Congress took steps to provide a framework for the disclosure of biotechnology derived ingredients in foods.  The bill preempted states from requiring additional labeling standards creating a state-by-state patchwork of rules confusing consumers and making it impossible to manufacturers.

Technology drives our daily lives from the smart phones and computers we use daily, our transportation choices and in general the way we live our lives is enhanced by technology.  Benefits in biotechnology for agriculture are no different and need to encouraged, celebrated and enhanced.

We asked each of the candidates the following question:

Our future food security will depend on science, technology and innovation to increase efficiency, adapt to droughts and fight plant diseases. Agricultural biotechnology and other new crop development techniques will prove vital.  As president, how will you ensure that new traits are reviewed expeditiously, that USDA’s GMO disclosure rules are focused on science and that solutions from science and technology are harnessed to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world?


“I support the use of technology in food production, which has enabled American farmers to increase yields to levels never before experienced in the history of the world. Through innovation, American farmers are producing crops more resilient to drought, heat, and pests. Government should not block positive technological advancements in agriculture. Agency reviews need to be streamlined with all unnecessary red-tape cut out.”


“Our goal should be to find policy solutions that are grounded in science and respect consumers. Hillary understands the need for a national solution to the GMO labeling question — one that provides consistency to food companies and consumers across state lines. And she is glad Republicans and Democrats have worked together to build a bipartisan solution to this issue.”

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