What is in this article?:
With the national spotlight on the race for the White House, the American Soybean Association (ASA) reached out to President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for each candidate’s points of view on issues critical to soybean farmers. President Obama and Governor Romney offered their positions on the farm bill and crop insurance, estate tax, biodiesel, biotechnology, trade, research, regulations, and transportation and infrastructure.
Read their full responses below.
Soybean farmers depend on new biotech seed technologies to enhance yield, increase nutrients, conserve valuable resources, lessen their impact on the environment, and overcome challenges from pests, weeds and other challenges well beyond the farmer’s control. Soybean farmers need these tools to tackle the challenges of feeding a global population projected to pass 9 billion by 2050. Currently, U.S. regulatory agency delays in completing timely biotech reviews keep many biotech traits off the market and out of the hands of the farmers that need them. Additionally, a number of our export markets have barriers and processes that impede trade or adoption of new biotech commodities. How would your administration work to ensure a regulatory environment, both domestically and internationally, which encourages responsible innovation while using science-based factors for bringing new traits to market?
President Obama: Advances in biotechnology have strengthened agriculture, one of the country’s largest industries. Today, an amazing variety of innovative products are being made from soybeans that would have been unimaginable just a generation ago. And the key to building upon America’s agriculture exports of more than $137 billion lies in developing even more innovative products. That is why my administration is working to streamline the regulatory process, reducing costs and reducing the time for review for new inventions, while still ensuring that crops are fully reviewed to ensure health and environmental safety. And we are removing trade barriers so that more of our farmers’ products are being sold around the world. I know we can support the continued advancement of biotechnology, without compromising safety, to preserve America’s place as the world leader in innovation and strengthen U.S. leadership in the 21st century’s high-tech economy.
Governor Romney: Today over 90 percent of our soybeans and cotton and over 85 percent of our corn planted each year is biotech. The development of agricultural biotechnology has helped farmers reduce input use, preserve our soil and water and enhance yields. With the world’s population expected to grow by 2 billion people over the next 40 years – 80 percent of this occurring in developing countries – the demand for food will nearly double. All forms of agriculture production – conventional and biotech – need to be embraced and invested in to ensure the U.S. agriculture industry remains at the forefront of supplying this growing world market. My administration will create a regulatory review process for agriculture biotech that focuses on using sound science to make decisions and ensuring that the process is fully transparent.