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August 28, 2003

Market Choices Web site links biotech corn growers to elevators

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Farmers harvesting biotech corn hybrids this fall need to know which elevators are buying what they're selling. A new Web site developed in cooperation with Purdue University helps producers find markets for transgenic grain.

The Market Choices home page provides information and resources for farmers with biotech corn, as well as elevators that purchase the grain, said Dirk Maier, a Purdue Cooperative Extension Service agricultural engineer.

Where farmers sell insect- and herbicide-resistant transgenic corn is important because some of the hybrids are not accepted in all countries, Maier said.

"The Market Choices site lists hybrids that are approved for food and feed use in the United States, Canada and Japan, but are not approved in the European Union," he said. "These hybrids need to be marketed to buyers who will not ship this grain, or processed products from this grain, into the European market.

"Producers growing these hybrids need to be reminded that in the spring when they purchased their seed, they signed an agreement that they would only market that product to grain buyers that will accept these types of hybrids. By following through with that commitment, we will be able to keep these hybrids out of commercial chains that primarily supply some of our processors within the state who do not want these products delivered to their plants."

The Web site includes a link to a database of elevators that accept biotech hybrids. The Grain Handler's Database is maintained by the American Seed Trade Association, a cooperating partner in Market Choices. Producers and agribusiness people visiting marketchoices.info also can download a "Know Where to Go" poster. The poster serves to encourage farmers to do their homework before marketing their biotech grain.

"Know Where to Go" posters will be available at county offices of Purdue Extension by early September.

Biotech corn makes up a small percentage of total crop acreage in Indiana. In March the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 13 percent of Indiana's corn acreage would be planted to biotech varieties. Hoosier farmers are expected to harvest 5.5 million acres of corn – both conventional and transgenic varieties – this fall.

"Corn hybrids that contain Herculex I, Roundup Ready, YieldGard Rootworm or stacked YieldGard Corn Borer-Liberty Link transgenic traits have been designated by their respective seed companies as Market Choices hybrids," Maier said.

Although transgenic corn makes up a fraction of total crop acreage, many elevators are willing to buy the commodity, Maier said.

"The good news is that there are literally thousands of elevators across the Midwest that accept these products without any problems whatsoever," he said. "The only detail that we need to pay attention to is that this grain doesn't end up in some of our dry corn milling, masa milling or wet corn milling facilities that cater either to some of the food markets or, particularly, the European market."

In addition to Purdue and the American Seed Trade Association, other participating partners in Market Choices include DowAgroSciences LLC, Monsanto Co., Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., National Corn Growers Association, Iowa Grain Quality Initiative and Extension programs, co-op associations and grain, feed and grower organizations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415, sleer@purdue.edu

Sources: Dirk Maier, (765) 494-1175, maier@purdue.edu

Darren Jarboe, Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, (515) 294-3137, jarboe@iastate.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, bforbes@aes.purdue.edu; http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/AgComm/public/agnews/

Related Web site:
Purdue University Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering Extension page


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