Phone: 800-862-8529                                                          Fax: 509-545-0909
Weather |  Market News |  Headline News |  DTN Ag Headlines | |  Crops |  Futures |  Portfolio |  Futures Markets |  Quotes 
  Producer Account Login  
  About Us  
  PNW Charts  
  Daily Commentary  
  Real Time Quotes  
  Contact Us  
  Tri Cities Grain Photo Gallery  
  Administrative Login  
- DTN Headline News
Farmers on the Front Line
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 3:25PM CDT

By Katie Micik
DTN Markets Editor

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (DTN) -- Farm industry groups want to remind farmers that they're the first line of defense in protecting U.S. export markets, especially when it comes to harvesting and marketing corn that contains traits not approved by key importers.

"It's really critical now as we move into harvest" that farmers are good stewards of unapproved biotech trains, American Soybean Association president Ray Gaesser told DTN on the sidelines of the U.S. Global Trade Exchange conference.

Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera (MIR 162) and Duracade traits haven't been approved for import into China, and that country's zero-tolerance policy on presence of unapproved traits ups the ante.

"All it takes is a kernel or two of corn in a shipload," Gaesser said. If China detects a few kernels of corn with unapproved traits, even if it's in a vessel containing soybeans, the whole load will be rejected.

During the past marketing year, the presence of the unapproved MIR 162 trait caused rejections of corn, soybeans and dried distillers grains shipments. Corn and DDG trade with China ground to a halt. The cost to U.S. growers, grain handlers and exporters could swell to $3.4 billion in the 2014-15 marketing year from $2.9 billion the previous year, according to a National Grain and Feed Association analysis completed in June. Cargill recently sued Syngenta Seeds in a Louisiana state court for damages related to rejected shipments. Other grain and feed exporters are reported to be filing additional suits.

ADM issued a statement saying it has "not yet made a formal decision on what actions it will take. However, as we have said in the past, wide-scale planting of traits that aren't approved by key importing countries diminish the competitiveness of American grain and feed exports."

In a soy association statement released Wednesday morning, Gaesser said, "As American farmers, we are particularly fortunate to work with so many innovative technology partners, each of whom provides us with revolutionary technology in the field. Unfortunately, some approval systems around the world, including China's and the European Union's, aren't working as timely as we'd like.

"Because of this, farmers have to take extra steps -- especially now during the harvest season -- to be sure that seed bearing these traits doesn't find its way into their commodity grain loads," he said in the statement.

The first step is making sure that the farmer and everyone involved in the farm operation knows which fields contain the unapproved traits and how to handle them, Gaesser told DTN in an interview Tuesday. The National Corn Growers Association also has urged farmers to verify the traits grown in on-farm test plots so that grain can be sent to the appropriate marketing channels.

"They need to be really careful about cleaning their combines out when they switch from an unapproved trait of corn to their soybean crop," Gaesser said. They also need to thoroughly clean out their grain legs, augers, grain carts, semis and any other equipment that's used to harvest corn containing the Viptera and Duracade traits.

"It takes time to flush the system and to get all those kernels of corn out of the combine," Gaesser said. "It's not a simple process. We can't cut corners here. We cannot afford to cut corners."

It's also vital that farmers communicate with their local co-ops, grain elevators, ethanol plants and any other buyers to make sure they know the business's protocol on unapproved traits, he said. Some grain companies, like Cargill, will accept the Viptera trait if it's declared, but have indicated they won't take Duracade.

U.S. soybean farmers have worked for more than 30 years to develop their trade relationship with China, which now represents more trade than all other soybean-buying nations combined. During the current marketing year, China bought $14 billion of U.S. soybeans because China trusts that the U.S. will sell them "a safe, reliable, and certain product. Anything that might undermine that trust is not good for our market."

It's also important that farmers respect China's rules, he told DTN. ASA, other ag industry groups and USDA are all working with China in hopes of developing a new regulatory approval process that's transparent, timely and based on science.

"We remain frustrated with the pace and murkiness of regulatory approvals in some of our export markets, but we also recognize that the rules are the rules in those markets, and we have to respect them. That means that we simply can't send grain with traits that aren't yet approved," said Wade Cowan, a producer from Brownfield, Texas, and ASA's first vice president in a press release. "Every necessary precaution needs to be taken by originating trait providers and seed companies, and then on our farms, at the elevators, at terminals and at ports, to prevent seed with unapproved traits from entering the supply chain.

"The longer term answer, of course, is a more efficient and transparent system of foreign approvals, and a global policy to allow for the low level presence of biotech traits that are fully approved in a producing market but not yet approved in an export market."

Crops Technology Editor Pamela Smith contributed to this article.

Katie Micik can be reached at


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik
Markets Editor
Friday, September 19, 2014 7:00PM CDT
Monday, September 15, 2014 4:59PM CDT
Thursday, September 4, 2014 9:17PM CDT
Technically Speaking
Darin Newsom
DTN Senior Analyst
Saturday, September 20, 2014 1:42PM CDT
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 1:49PM CDT
Sunday, September 14, 2014 3:09PM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 2:58PM CDT
Monday, September 15, 2014 1:41PM CDT
Friday, September 12, 2014 12:26PM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Friday, September 19, 2014 6:58PM CDT
Thursday, September 18, 2014 4:02AM CDT
Thursday, September 18, 2014 4:02AM CDT
Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Taylor
DTN Executive Editor
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 4:05PM CDT
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 6:26PM CDT
Friday, August 22, 2014 8:34PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Friday, September 19, 2014 7:38PM CDT
Thursday, September 18, 2014 4:01PM CDT
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 8:57PM CDT
Thursday, September 18, 2014 8:20PM CDT
Thursday, September 18, 2014 5:45PM CDT
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 8:02PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Friday, September 19, 2014 7:15PM CDT
Thursday, September 4, 2014 11:19AM CDT
Thursday, August 28, 2014 7:40PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Friday, September 12, 2014 8:08PM CDT
Friday, August 22, 2014 6:26PM CDT
Friday, August 15, 2014 7:42PM CDT
South America Calling
Alastair Stewart
South America Correspondent
Friday, September 19, 2014 5:03PM CDT
Thursday, September 18, 2014 6:22PM CDT
Thursday, September 18, 2014 6:22PM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 10:32PM CDT
Thursday, September 11, 2014 12:51AM CDT
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 6:03PM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 4:32PM CDT
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 8:25PM CDT
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 3:32PM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Friday, September 19, 2014 9:05PM CDT
Thursday, September 18, 2014 10:34PM CDT
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 10:11PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 8:32PM CDT
Friday, September 12, 2014 7:13PM CDT
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 6:39PM CDT
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN