National Farmers Union delegates adopted a special order of business calling on Congress, the Obama administration, the biotech industry, and producers to resolve outstanding biotech concerns in a timely fashion at the 109th annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.

“Price and market competition are essential in the seed and biotech industries for producers and consumers,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “In the next few years, the first genetically modified organism will go off-patent. Currently, there are not processes in place to require that a seed company maintains the product’s regulatory approval. Therefore, even if generic production of the trait is facilitated, unless a company maintains international regulatory approval of the generic trait, U.S. farmers will be unable to export grain produced from this trait.”

The special order of business calls for provisions that would allow companies and public universities prior to patent expiration, as long as the products created using the patented trait is not released until after the patent expires.

“A research exemption to allow both private and public sector researchers to work with a trait under proper stewardship restrictions before its patent expires, should be a part of genetically modified seed patent law or binding regulation,” said Johnson. “A research exemption would allow seed breeders to access data in a timely manner before trait patent expiration in order to advance single-trait or stacked-trait breeding programs. Researchers should not be allowed to bring products containing a patented trait to market before the patent expires, but they should be allowed to develop products under proper stewardship restrictions and seek export market approvals so that products can be brought to market as soon as patents expire.”

Source: National Farmers Union