Source: Farm Weekly,

THE biggest farming group in the US has backed moves to promote coexistence between organic and biotech farmers.

American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman dismissed suggestions of widespread legal disputes between the two farming groups as “merely the product of an activist agenda”.

With a landmark legal argument over property rights hanging in the balance between an organic farmer and genetically modified (GM) canola grower in Western Australia, Mr Stallman said earlier this month the Farm Bureau’s members supported the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision on an “important” recommendation on biotechnology.

The USDA’s recommendation was contained in a report from the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) which aims to foster communication and collaboration to strengthen coexistence among farmers.

“We are disappointed by the implication from activist groups opposed to modern farming practices that there is widespread disagreement when it comes to coexistence and agricultural biotechnology,” Mr Stallman said.

“Frankly, that assertion does not hold up to scrutiny.”

Following dissent and division over GM crops continuing in Australia, the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia (ABCA) hit back, using the recent annual ‘Science Meets Parliament’ week in Canberra to launch a new publication designed to deliver science-based information on GM crops, “to contribute to a more informed national discussion about agricultural technologies”.

ABCA says the publication, The Official Australian Reference Guide to Agricultural Biotechnology and GM Crops, provides a comprehensive overview of agricultural biotechnology in Australia and answers common questions about GM crops.

“The guide also presents information on coexistence in farming and the on-farm management practices and systems currently in place that maintain the integrity of both GM and non-GM crops,” ABCA said.