Trump issues biotech executive order

By Justin Walker

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Tuesday, June 11, to begin streamlining the regulatory process for agricultural biotechnology.

The Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order intends to eliminate delays, reduce developer costs and provide greater certainty about the review process for farmers.

Biotechnology has been used in agriculture for decades. Streamlining the regulatory process will help facilitate the innovation of agricultural biotechnology to the market efficiently, consistently and safely under a predictable, consistent, transparent and science-based regulatory framework, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

The current framework has hindered innovation on the farm, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. This executive order will help modernize the process to meet the needs of America’s farmers, ranchers and consumers.

“We need all the tools in the toolbox to meet the challenge of feeding everyone now and into the future. If we do not put these safe biotechnology advances to work here at home, our competitors in other nations will,” Perdue said. “Science-based advances in biotechnology have great promise to enhance rural prosperity and improve the quality of life across America’s heartland and around the globe.”

The current process has delayed innovations that could bring safe, resilient crops to the market. From 1993 to 2017, an average of five petitions were processed by USDA.

Trump’s executive order will help create policy to promote agricultural innovation, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said.

“Having an updated, transparent and scientifically sound regulatory system for agricultural biotechnology is critical if American farmers and ranchers are to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow,” Duvall said. “Innovative solutions have been a creed for American agriculture for a long time, and with (recent) action by the president, it ensures a framework and directive for agricultural innovation well into the future.”

USDA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration are the three federal agencies that regulate products of food and agricultural technology.

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