As growers approached the 2006 corn harvest, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) launched an industry-wide initiative to help farmers channel their biotech corn varieties to appropriate grain-handling facilities.
Biotech corn hybrids contain traits that are fully approved for food and feed use in the United States, but may not be fully approved in the European Union. As a result, grain handlers separate these varieties from grain exported to EU markets.
The Market Choices database has been updated for 2006 to be more user-friendly. Growers simply enter their zip code and the geographic radius they wish to search to locate the nearest grain facility. Also new this year is a question and answer fact sheet to explain the Market Choices program.
The database is available on the Internet at http://www.amseed.org/aboutMarketChoices.asp.
According to Andrew LaVigne, president and CEO, “ASTA recognizes that producers have many choices when selecting corn hybrids for their operation. As part of our commitment to good stewardship, we want to ensure that farmers who have chosen biotech enhanced seeds can easily identify markets for their crop. By checking the Market Choices database, growers can find a facility to handle their grain.”
LaVigne noted that the database was created in 2002 as biotech corn varieties were more widely adopted by U.S. growers. ASTA worked with the National Corn Growers Association and the Corn Refiners Association to develop the program. The Market Choices symbol appears on seed tags and company product catalogues to clearly identify biotech hybrids for farmers as they make their seed purchase decisions.
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, 61 percent of U.S. corn plantings in 2006 were enhanced for herbicide tolerance or insect resistance.
Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), located in Alexandria, Va., is one of the oldest trade organizations in the United States. Its membership consists of about 850 companies involved in seed production and distribution, plant breeding, and related industries in North America.
As an authority on plant germplasm, ASTA advocates science and policy issues of industry importance. Its mission is to enhance the development and free movement of quality seed worldwide.