Corn and soybean farmers concerned about recent attacks on U.S. food companies are working together to show their support for those food companies that are buying biotechnology corn and soybean crops.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) have distributed 60,000 "thank-you" postcards to farmers across the country. The postcards are addressed to the chief executives of major food companies that have supported the continued use of corn and soybean biotechnology products.
Farmers are urged to sign and mail the card, thanking the food companies for their continued use of biotech grain.
Tony Anderson, ASA president and a farmer from Mt. Sterling, Ohio, sees this grassroots effort as an important step in countering anti-biotech claims and in protecting the availability of new production options, including biotechnology.
"Biotechnology has made a wonderful contribution to the quality and safety of our overall food supply," Anderson says. "Unfortunately, a very small but very vocal faction has received an inordinate amount of attention due to their well-organized efforts to spread fear about the science of biotechnology. Even though these products have passed the rigorous scrutiny of our nation's regulatory agencies, these individuals have shown they won't be happy until they deprive everyone of the benefits of biotechnology."
Steve Pigg of Bushnell, Ill., vice chairman of NCGA's Growers Service Corn Action Team, says farmers need to take a more active role in supporting the continued availability of biotechnology and educating the public on the benefits of biotech.
"This is a critical time for farmers to stand together with the rest of the food industry," Pigg says. "We need to help inform the consuming public about the advantages available through the science of biotechnology. And, we need to commend and support our partners in the food industry who have shown tremendous courage on this very important issue.
"This postcard mailing is only a start, but it's a critical first step in showing the food industry and the public that we believe in the benefits biotechnology delivers today and the promise it offers for tomorrow."
Both Anderson and Pigg say farmers from around the nation will more vocally tout the benefits of biotechnology in the weeks ahead.
Additional cards are available by contacting the headquarters of the ASA or NCGA, both in St. Louis.