The American Soybean Association (ASA), the United Soybean Board (USB), and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) are sponsoring and organizing the 2011 International Ag Biotechnology & Food Security Conference June 21-22, at the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing, China.
The conference is produced on behalf of ASA, USB, and USSEC by Soyatech.
Over these two days, a roster of speakers, which includes farmers, scientists, technology providers, exporters, and government officials from the United States, China, Brazil, Canada, and Europe, will provide a global perspective on trade and biotechnology; outline biotechnology developments, use and acceptance; and define the role biotechnology plays as it relates to sustainability, food safety and the world economy.
Perspective will also be offered on efforts to enhance biotechnology acceptance worldwide, and on the importance of timely and well-functioning import approval systems for biotechnology in China and other world markets.
"Our organizations and the farmers we represent are dedicated to providing sustainable nutrition through the power of soy," said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind.
"Our presenters at this conference include farmers, scientists, seed genetic and technology firms, and government officials responsible for biotechnology and trade. Each is eager to discuss the key issues that are part of this conference."
Some of the topics on the agenda include: Exploring the global pipeline for new biotech traits; Assessing the potential for ag biotechnology to contribute to food security, sustainability and nutrition around the world; Providing the scientific basis for consumer acceptance of foods produced with the aid of biotechnology; and Encouraging an expedited, more efficient process for biotechnology approvals worldwide.
"This event is being held in China, a country that places a high value on soybeans and soy products," Kemper said.
Keen interest in biotechnology
"China’s growing economy and its increasing middle class population make it a nation with a keen interest in implementing biotechnology policies. China has been a good partner to the U.S. soybean farmer. We appreciate this relationship and we hope sharing information about biotech soybeans and other crops will help strengthen our relationship."
China is the largest foreign buyer of U.S. soybeans. In 2010, the U.S. sold just over $10.8 billion worth of soybeans to China.
More than 50 percent of all U.S. soybean exports, or 25 percent of the entire U.S. soybean harvest, was exported to China in 2010. In other words, one of out of every four rows of soybeans grown in the United States is exported to China.
U.S. soybean farmers have been a long-term partner with various segments of the Chinese agricultural industry for nearly 30 years. In particular those segments are the swine, poultry, animal feed, and aquaculture industries.
"The U.S. soybean industry’s goal in working with these industry sectors has always been to make them more modern, efficient, viable and profitable," Kemper said.
"As a partner with China’s animal agriculture and aquaculture industries, the U.S. soybean farmer has demonstrated its long-term commitment to helping China meet its long-term food security needs.
"As a fully committed partner in meeting China’s food security needs, U.S. soybean farmers believe that biotechnology will play an increasingly important role in meeting the current and future food security needs of China, as well as the rest of the world."
The first biotech crop was planted commercially in 1996. Since then, worldwide acceptance of the benefits of agricultural biotechnology has grown rapidly in a short period of time. In fact, just last year, a farmer somewhere in the world planted the one billionth biotech crop hectare (2.47 billion acres).
"Biotechnology is important to every faction of the soy industry — from the consumer who relies on the safety of his or her food, to the farmer who plants and harvests soybeans and other commodities," Kemper said.