While farmers are waiting to get planting back on track, they may want to take the time to make sure what they intend to plant can be sold after harvest. At the top of the Louis Dreyfus Claypool soybean processing plant web site is a notice that reads, “LDC will not accept soybean varieties containing GMO events not approved for US export markets including, but not limited to: China, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, The EU and Canada.” The notice goes on to say, “Any seller that delivers commodities that include, are produced from, are tainted or contaminated by, or contain any amount of, GMO seed or GMO events not approved in all export markets – including, without limitation, soybeans with Monsanto’s® Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ technology – shall be in breach of its contract with LDC and liable for all resulting direct and consequential damages.” This is just one example of the restrictions being imposed by grain elevators and processors on seed traits not approved for export.
If growers are not careful, the crops they grow this season may be refused at elevators and processing plants. Despite industry efforts to educate producers, there may be some confusion about what traits and technology is involved. Bayer Crop Science’s Marlin Westfall says, for example, the Liberty link technology is not a trait that involved, “What we want to let growers know is that the Liberty Link trait has full export approval, so if they choose to plant with this technology they will not have a problem.” Westfall says, while this issue may be a source of frustration for growers, it is part of agriculture being a global industry, “In order to maintain our global access, we need to make sure that growers only produce crops that have full global access.”
The American Soybean Association and American Seed Trade Association have published information for producers; and, if you are in doubt, check with your seed supplier or local elevator. Westfall says farmers have a responsibility to manage this technology in order to preserve market access, “It is important that American agriculture only export those commodities that have full worldwide approval so we can maintain our ability to ship products worldwide.”