Biotech Education Efforts Paying off in Spain

In Biotechnology, International, Trade by Cindy

Grains CouncilWhile the French were busy banning the production of biotech corn last week, their neighbors to the south were importing more US corn than they have in almost a decade.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign and Agricultural Service reports that the United States sold 2.5 million bushels of corn for shipment to Spain the week ending January 11 – the first of this magnitude to Spain since 1998-99, according to U.S. Grains Council officials who say biotechnology has been the primary trade barrier causing Spain not to seek U.S. corn.

“Because the tight supply of feed grains has feed millers and producers in a severe price squeeze, the timing is right to try and educate the European Union’s grain industry about biotechnology and elicit their support in addressing policy,” said Dale Artho, U.S. Grains Council chairman. “They were especially receptive to the idea of relaxing the EU GMO (genetically modified organisms) policies for U.S. corn. We discussed how corn with plant technology attributes could be utilized in their milling process for feed export markets and how that would reduce the pressure on their domestic markets.”

Artho said Spain’s purchase of U.S. corn is a good sign that the Council’s education efforts are working and gives U.S. producers reason to be optimistic about the potential to export genetically enhanced feed grains to Europe.