MAIZALL, USTR Urge Cooperation on Biotech Trade at Global Agribusiness Forum

U.S. farmer-leaders of MAIZALL, the international maize alliance, spoke at the 2016 Global Agribusiness Forum in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this week, calling on the agriculture sectors and governments of major producing and exporting countries to work together to solve the challenges hindering the advancement and adoption of new production technologies.

Pamela Johnson, past chairwoman of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), and Julius Schaaf, past chairman of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) - both of whom are MAIZALL officers and Iowa farmers - shared their views with the industry leaders from Brazil and around the globe in attendance at the biennial conference.

This year's agenda included a surprise visit from Acting Brazilian President Michel Temer, who emphasized the importance of the agricultural sector in feeding not only the people of Brazil but the global population.

In addition to the president, new Minister of Agriculture Blairo Maggi presented, focusing his message on efforts to advance Brazilian agriculture, increase ethanol exports and ease government restrictions on agriculture innovation.

Johnson followed Maggi as a keynote speaker with a message focused on the need to work together to reach a desirable future in which farmers have access to the range of tools they need to ensure a continued supply of safe, affordable and sustainably-produced food.

Schaaf joined a panel focused on the challenge of sustainable production. He emphasized the need for science-based regulations that allow farmers to access the innovation that holds so much promise for the future.

Ambassador Darci Vetter, chief agriculture negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, also joined the proceedings. In her speech, she reinforced a MAIZALL message to Forum delegates, emphasizing the fact that the U.S. and Brazil have more in common than not. Vetter specifically asked for the countries to work together on trade barriers related biotechnology, a key area of work for MAIZALL.

MAIZALL is a coalition of corn growers from the United States, MAIZAR in Argentina and ABRAMILHO in Brazil who work together on challenges of mutual interest including innovation and food security, even while they compete in the global marketplace.

Johnson, Schaaf and staff representatives from USGC and NCGA participated in the MAIZAR conference of Argentine corn growers following the Forum as well as a MAIZALL board meeting.

More about MAIZALL is available here.

More about the Forum is here.