The National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates Thursday said though biotech wheat is not available to farmers, the groups still support the innovation and technology that biotech pioneers like 2013 World Food Prize winners Dr. Marc Van Montagu, Mary Dell-Chilton and Robert Fraley bring to the table.
The groups reinforced their support for the continued development of biotech wheat by joining others in the industry to congratulate the two recipients, whose work, they said, has been instrumental to this vital technology.
Both NAWG and USW are working with industry partners throughout the wheat value chain to prepare the path for the development of new wheat varieties – both biotech and conventional. They say new varieties will improve farmers' ability to increase yields, use fewer agricultural inputs and continually improve the quality of their crop.
Those advancements will be necessary as worldwide demand for wheat is outpacing farmers' ability to produce it. The organizations said the number of acres planted with wheat has fallen relative to other crops with biotech options available in part because the more advanced crops offer farmers a better return on their investment.
Biotech wheat varieties, which the industry expects to be introduced within the decade, will help ensure that wheat continues to be a valuable source of nutrition for people around the world and a staple of American agriculture for generations to come.
Montagu, Chilton and Fraley were awarded the World Food Prize Thursday for their roles founding, developing and applying agricultural biotechnology. Thanks to the discoveries of these laureates, the wheat groups said, farmers around the world are able to grow crops with higher yields and a more sustainable environmental profile than was ever possible before.
Source: USW, NAWG