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October 4, 2007


French farmers denounce GM ban; UC Davis honors Kent Bradford; Bt corn and mycotoxins


* India Allows Oil From GM Soy
* Codex Wants GM Data Sharing
* Philippine expert douses fears about GM
* French farmers say GMO ban harmful
* Good Food, Bad Science
* Why organic food can't feed the world
* Bt corn and mycotoxins
* CBC News Debate - Edinburgh 2000
* UC Davis honors Kent Bradford


Government allows import of GM seed edible oil

- Soumitra Trivedi, Business Standard (India), Sept. 29, 2007


Ahmedabad - The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has lifted the ban on the import of edible oils extracted from genetically modified oilseeds. This was stated in a letter to State Trading Corporation and MMTC on Friday.

The move allows import licence holders, under the Duty-Free Entitlement Certificate (DFEC) scheme for Target Plus and Status Plus schemes, to freely import edible oil derived from GM oilseeds.

Director of Foreign Trade RS Gujaral, who was in Ahmedabad on Friday said, "The restriction on the import of edible oil sourced from GM oilseeds has been removed. Earlier, the importers had to declare that the oil was not sourced from GM oilseeds."

But it was difficult to trace whether the oil was sourced from GM seeds. Seeing the increasing demand from exporters and the country's requirement of imported edible oils, the import had been relaxed, he added.

The freeing of edible oil import would come as a boon for hundreds of licence holders to import GM oils. The licence would also plug the loopholes in the import norms, said B V Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors' Association of India.


UN body wants data sharing on GMO crops

- The Financial Express (India), Sept. 28, 2007


Countries that have approved the use of genetically modified (GMO) crops should share information about them to reduce risks of disruption to the global food trade, a UN body said on Friday.

Making such information available would help when cargoes of food containing low levels of GMO arrive in countries where the safety of the relevant material has not been determined, a task force of the United Nations food safety body Codex agreed.

Producer and importing countries alike have been grappling with the problem of managing shipments in which GMO material is accidentally commingled with non-GMO crops.

The problem typically arises with shipments of soybean, rapeseed, cotton and corn, with the incidence increasing along with the rising number of biotech plants authorised for commercial production in different countries.

"In the previous meeting, we only agreed on a list of requisite data and information to share," Chieko Ikeda, a Japanese representative and a director at the health ministry, told a news conference.

"This time we agreed that member countries and product applicants should make available data and information on a FAO portal site and that the FAO site is in principle open to public," she said, referring to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

The guideline agreed upon in the task force's seventh meeting also made it clear that it is up to individual nations to determine how low the acceptable level is for GMO material, Ikeda said.

The draft guideline agreed after a five-day meeting at this suburban city east of Tokyo is to be reviewed in June by the Codex commission established by the FAO and the World Health Organisation with responsibility for compiling safety rules to constitute the food code 'Codex Alimentarius'.

Unless the commission returns the draft to the task force for further discussion, it would become a formal one for assessment of low level presence of GMO plant material, Ikeda said. Codex rules are recognised by the World Trade Organization as an international reference point for the resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection. The United States, the world's biggest producer of GMO crops, had initially raised the issue of low level commingling of unauthorised GMO crops at importing countries.

The European Community, in the previous meeting, had proposed sharing data and information on authorised GMO crops to help promote fair practices in the food trade.


Biotech expert douses cold water on fears about safety of GMO products, reports DA

- Phillipine Information Agency (press release), Sept. 30, 2007


Quezon City -- The top biotechnology expert of the Department of Agriculture (DA) has reassured consumers that all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) approved for commercial release, whether for food, feed or processing, are safe and pose no health risks to consumers.

According to Dr. Saturnina Halos, chief of the DA-Biotech Advisory Team (DA-BAT), these GMOs have been proven scientifically to have no danger to the environment, contrary to fears raised by environmentalists.

In buttressing her claim, Halos said none of the 44 GMO products approved by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) since December 2002 has caused any ailment among the farmers who planted them and the people who consumed them.

The first GMO to be approved for commercial release in the Philippines in December 2002 was the pest-resistant Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn, which is now cultivated all over the country.

Halos explained that all these GMOs were subjected to the most rigorous science-based safety assessment by competent authorities and passed all standards.

Apart from the safety assessment by experts from the BPI and other regulatory agencies of the DA, the Scientific Technical Review Panel (STRP), an independent scientific body, also evaluated the GMO applications.

Halos said the same GMOs were subjected to the most stringent biosafety regulations to make sure that they are safe and would not have any harmful effect to their intended users and the environment.

All GMO applications have to pass through a wringer comprised of several layers of assessments from independent scientists, all of whom are accorded the time to check on the organisms, report their findings and subject the GMOs to repeated tests for toxicity and impact on indigenous plants and animals.

Halos also defended the process by which the BPI approves the application for the commercial release of GMOs and GMO products, explaining that government has not rushed headlong into approving products that eventually would threaten people and the environment.

She noted that the safety protocol followed by the Philippines competes with the system operating in the European Union (EU), which has the strictest scientific regulations as far as GMOs are concerned.

"All 44 GMO applications approved for commercial release in the Philippines have undergone careful review by other scientific bodies and equally competent authorities. They are as safe as their non-GMO counterparts," Halos said.

Halos added that aside from the safety assessment by experts from the BPI and the STRP, the process of approval calls for public consultations, from the initial evaluation of the technology to the testing in greenhouses, then in individual field tests and then to testing in multiple sites.

Thus, farmers, consumers, medical practitioners and critics are accorded the opportunity to check on the GMOs.

"It is a very tedious process. The BPI also conduct consultation meetings with various stakeholders and conducts a careful evaluation of the issues and concerns raised during the consultation process," she said.


Biotech will help sow the seeds of the world's future harvests

- Erin McGinn, Farm & Ranch Guide, Sept. 27, 2007


With provisions relating to nearly every crop grown for food, feed, fiber and renewable fuel in the United States, as well as conservation, nutrition, rural development and other programs, the 2007 farm bill probably has more stakeholders than any other legislation being considered by Congress.

While Farm Bureau has a comprehensive scorecard to measure the utility of farm bill proposals, other groups also weigh in. Some are multi-issue groups, while others are single-issue coalitions. One topic that has drawn attention is that of "sustainable agriculture."

According to the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, sustainable agriculture integrates three goals: environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

Under federal law, the more extensive definition of sustainable agriculture also includes practices that will, over the long-term satisfy, human food and fiber needs, sustain the economic viability of farm operations and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

Whether you look at the long or the short of it, neither definition of sustainable agriculture references "organic." However, many environmental groups and sustainable agriculture advocates firmly link the two, at times using organic as a synonym for sustainable agriculture.

In the absence of a clear definition, it is important to shift the focus slightly from sustainable agriculture to agricultural practices and innovations that can sustain the world - particularly in light of exploding population growth, unprecedented before the 20th Century. Organic agriculture definitely has a well-earned spot in the marketplace, but most experts agree that organic production alone cannot feed the world.

At the same time the world's population is increasing, the amount of land suitable for farming and ranching is decreasing.

That's the challenge for growers of today and, even more so, tomorrow: Producing more and better quality crops to meet humans' increasing nutritional demands on less and less land, using methods that protect the environment.

U.S. farmers and ranchers have yet to let us down. Along with a long-standing tradition of clearing the highest of hurdles, U.S. producers have biotechnology on their side.

Researchers are working on corn that is drought-tolerant and uses nitrogen more efficiently so less fertilizer has to be used to produces higher yields. In addition, some companies are working on advancing seed technology to provide higher quality animal feed and higher oil content for food and fuel production.

Agricultural practices and innovations that will sustain American farmers and the world's population are not exclusively biotech-driven, leaving plenty of room for organic and non-traditional approaches to farming. However, biotech's role in helping U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to provide one of the world's safest and most affordable food supplies, particularly in the future, is undeniably growing in importance.

(Erin McGinn is assistant editor of FBNews, a publication of the American Farm Bureau Federation.)


French farmers say GMO ban harmful

- Sybille de La Hamaide, Reuters, Oct. 3, 2007


PARIS - France risks losing its seat among top food producers if it rejects genetically modified (GMO) crops altogether in an upcoming law on biotech organisms, French farmers and producers said on Wednesday.

Orama, the lobby gathering French grain and oilseed growers, joined by seedmakers and several politicians, warned against "peddlers of fear" which fight against the use of GMO at a time when most other big producers adopt the technology.

The call is part of a wide government-led debate on the future of France's environment policy during which the fate of GMOs in the country has been a subject of heated discussions.

France and many other European countries, pressured by reluctant consumers, has long opposed a widespread use of GMO crops, contrary to other big producers such as the United States which has a far higher take-up of GMO technology.

"Today there are 102 million hectares sown with GMO seeds around the world. What we fear is that if France rejects GMOs we will be left behind and be dependent on other countries technology," said Orama's president Philippe Pinta.

"If we discourage research we doom our future," he added.

French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said last month that the government wanted to continue allowing laboratory research on GMOs but envisaged to ban both the sale and cultivation of GMO crops.

The idea was welcomed by green groups, opposed to the technology they say could prove dangerous to human health, but it was widely criticized by farmers who say France needs to keep up research, which also implies field tests.

"If we want to fight against the U.S. domination we have to give ourselves the means to do so," said Jean-Yves Le Deaut, head of a parliamentary commission on GMOs.

Under pressure from skepticism among ordinary consumers towards biotech foods -- polls show that between 75 and 80 percent are opposed to GMOs -- France has only granted approval for one type of GMO crop, produced by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto, to be cultivated for commercial purposes.

So far, just 22,000 hectares -- 1.5 percent of France's cultivated land -- have been sown with GMO maize this year.

Farmers also stress a contradiction between banning production and/or research on biotech crops and allowing the import of food products that contain GMOs.

"The French will end up being the laughing stock because they'll be eating what they refuse allowing their farmers to grow," said Christian Pees, president of France's seedmakers group Euralis.


Good Food, Bad Science

Why the UN's approach to gene-spliced foods is hopelessly flawed.

- Henry I. Miller, The American, Oct. 2, 2007


CHIBA, JAPAN - During his first months as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton denounced the UN Development Program for its "unacceptable" funding of Palestinian propaganda and publicly identified "countries who are in a state of denial" about the need for UN reform. He told a reporter that he felt "a little like Rod Serling has suddenly appeared and we're writing episodes from 'The Twilight Zone.'"

I'm having a similar experience in Japan, as a member of the U.S. delegation to a UN task force meeting on biotechnology-derived foods. The task force is a creature of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which sets food standards on behalf of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization. Now in its eighth year, the mission of the task force is to create new regulatory requirements that apply only to foods made with the newest techniques of biotechnology - namely gene-splicing, or genetic modification - while exempting others made with far less precise and predictable technologies.

It is one thing to regulate new foods with traits that are of potential concern, but quite another to regulate new foods merely because a certain technique has been used, especially when that technique is state-of-the-art and superior to its predecessors. It is rather like regulating only cars outfitted with disk brakes, radial tires, and air bags - and then restricting only those vehicles to a lower speed limit. Put another way, Codex approaches food made from organisms modified with gene-splicing techniques as though food producers, consumers, and regulators had no previous experience with genetic variation among cattle, chickens, apples, tomatoes, rice, and other products that comprise our diet. In fact, with the exceptions of fish, shellfish, wild game, wild mushrooms, and wild berries, virtually everything in our diets has been genetically improved by one technique or another.

The members of this task force - including the U.S. delegation - have systematically ignored scientific principles as well as the basic axiom that regulatory scrutiny should be proportionate to risk. They disregard the scientific consensus that gene-splicing is an extension (or refinement) of traditional techniques of genetic modification, and that it does not warrant discriminatory regulation. They overlook the fact that, during two decades of widespread use, the performance of gene-spliced crops has been spectacular, with farmers enjoying increased yields, decreased use of agricultural chemicals, lower occupational exposures to pesticides, and reduced emissions of carbon dioxide - and that there has not been a single consumer injured or ecosystem damaged. This record is all the more impressive when we consider that North Americans alone have consumed more than a trillion servings of gene-spliced foods.

The recent Codex meeting was replete with ironies. It began with greetings from a senior Japanese health official who touted the importance of biotechnology-derived foods, conveniently ignoring the fact that his own country has not permitted a single one to be grown or marketed. (Which, incidentally, is why a Hawaiian gene-spliced papaya costs less than two dollars in San Francisco, while one that is virtually identical, but conventionally modified, costs more than $15 in Tokyo.)

Another, more portentous irony is that Codex makes a mockery of the UN's own Millennium Development goals, especially the first and most ambitious: "to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger" by 2015. That cannot be accomplished without innovative technology, and there won't be innovative technology if it is regulated excessively and stupidly.

Unduly burdensome Codex standards for biotech foods are not only an affront to sound science and an obstruction to research and development; they also compromise the ability of the World Trade Organization to provide relief from arbitrary or protectionist policies. Any country that wishes to block trade in gene-spliced foods - for any reason - can defend against charges of unfair trade practices simply by citing Codex.

Much of the recent task force meeting was devoted to drafting guidelines for a "food safety assessment" of gene-spliced foods that have been "modified for nutritional or health benefit." These guidelines ensure that almost any important nutritional advance could be blocked for reasons of ideology or trade protection.

Let's suppose that, using gene-splicing techniques, plant breeders construct a peanut with deletions in the genes that express allergens, or a new variety of low-gluten wheat appropriate for the sufferers of celiac disease. The new guidelines require regulators to consider whether these alterations, which would obviously benefit people with peanut allergies and celiac disease (gluten intolerance), could somehow be detrimental to other sub-populations. For example: Could their slightly lower concentrations of protein cause malnutrition in people who normally consume large amounts of peanuts and wheat, respectively?

This is absurd. The differences between the conventional and new varieties would be minuscule, and there's no remotely similar requirement for conventionally produced foods. But a regulator could simply say, "The requirement is in the Codex guidelines. If you haven't met it, tough luck."

Big agribusiness companies (whose representatives flock to the task force meetings) endorse the Codex process. During the meetings, industry lobbyists literally whisper in the ears of the U.S. government officials, trying to eke out small concessions for their own narrow interests. At the end of the previous meeting of the task force, Michael Phillips, vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Association, conceded to me that the outcome was "as stupid as you think it is, but we got what we needed."

Big companies like stringent regulation if it limits competition and provides their products with a sort of "Good Housekeeping seal of approval." The legendary economist Adam Smith had their mind-set pegged over two centuries ago, when he wrote, "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

But in the end, encouraging unscientific, excessive regulation is like eating your seed corn: a short-term expedient but a long-term catastrophe, especially for smaller farmers, plant breeders, and academic researchers (who are not represented at Codex). Unscientific, overly burdensome regulation has raised costs to levels that "exclude the public sector, the academic community, from using their skills to improve crops," according to Dr. Roger Beachy, director of the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. In effect, Codex and other UN regulatory initiatives have created a playing field that is tilted against the brightest scientists and the most innovative companies.

American regulators have become shills for big agribusiness companies, at the expense of academic research and even their own policies. The approach of Codex is incompatible with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policies, which are the most scientifically defensible approach to biotech regulation in the world. Yet Dr. Eric Flamm, a senior FDA bureaucrat and the head of the U.S. delegation to Codex, is unfazed by the inconsistency. He says that delegation members represent the United States, not their own agencies.

At Codex, American bureaucrats from a veritable alphabet soup of federal agencies are working to promote unscientific and excessive regulation, even though the outcomes consistently sacrifice U.S. interests to those of the European Union and anti-technology NGOs (which, inexplicably, are allowed full participation in the task force). What makes this exercise particularly absurd is that American taxpayers provide about a quarter of the UN's base budget. But the biggest losers are undoubtedly the inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and elsewhere who suffer from extreme hunger and indigence. As Wellesley College political scientist Robert Paarlberg has written, "If this new technology is killed in the cradle, these farmers could miss a chance to escape the low farm productivity that is helping to keep them in poverty." Pity the Codex crowd doesn't seem to care.

Henry I. Miller, a physician, molecular biologist, and fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, was founding director of the Office of Biotechnology at the Food and Drug Administration from 1989 to 1993. Barron's selected his most recent book, "The Frankenfood Myth," as one of the 25 Best Books of 2004.


Why organic food can't feed the world

- Craig Meisner, Cosmos Online, Sept. 24, 2007


Recent studies have re-visited the idea that organic methods of agriculture would be sufficient to feed the world - but they are flawed because of na´vetÚ about agriculture in developing nations.

Can organic food feed the world? A recent study, published in the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems provides new data that suggests it can. However, I have some grave reservations about this prospect that are based on my experience as a scientist and my time living and working with real farmers in developing nations.

The authors of this study assume the major stumbling blocks to organic farming feeding the world are low crop yields and insufficient quantities of approved organic fertilisers. However, I have lived and worked in Bangladesh - as a professor of Cornell University, covering agricultural research and development - for the last 25 years, and I believe that even if these problems could be surmounted, using organic farming to feed the developing world remains a pipe dream.

Green Revolution

Bangladesh is the size of England and Wales together, but with a larger population of about 140 million people. It has achieved remarkable progress in its food productivity, even achieving self-sufficiency in flood-free years (currently we are experiencing a particularly devastating flood). The basis of the Green Revolution that saved South Asia was not organics, but the use of a dwarfing gene to stop rice and wheat collapsing when they flourished, coupled with chemical fertilisers and irrigation systems.

Despite the burgeoning population, the Green Revolution of the 1960s is continuing today in South Asia with an increase in the use of hybrid rice and maize, conservation agriculture, deep placement of nitrogen in rice paddies, and many other exciting technologies.

Heavy burden

So, why won't the use of pure organics work in developing countries like Bangladesh?

Most supporters of the idea that organic farming can feed the world, assume that organic manures are cheap and available to all - even the poor. But this isn't often the case. I see cow dung in Bangladesh and all of South Asia as a valuable commodity. During my walks in the villages I see it collected largely by women and children and used as fuel. It's found in nearly every house, dried and formed into patties, to be sold or burned for cooking.

Straw is another organic source of nutrients, but that's not always available either. Rice and wheat straw is collected from the fields, and used for cattle feed or thatching for roofs. Even the stubble is used, which the poorest come and cut for fuel.

The authors of the study mentioned above - led by researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, U.S. - have rightly assumed that organics can supply sufficient nutrients for plant growth. However, the quantities of organics required to sustain such productive growth makes it very difficult for the poor to handle. Organics whether farmyard manure, compost, or cow dung, contain moisture and are heavy and difficult to carry from the homestead to the fields by the growers.

For example, to raise a six-tonne rice crop in the peak season requires 100 kg of nitrogen. Because of monsoons and the fact that several metres of rainfall drains through the soil every three months, the amount of nitrogen it carries is low. Assuming we used good quality manure, there would be about 0.6 per cent nitrogen in the material; thus, requiring 17 tonnes per hectare to produce a six-tonne rice yield.

Can you imagine carrying 17 tonnes of manure, in repeated 50 kilogram loads, in a basket on your head? The lack of machinery to carry that material and the labour required to apply it, compounds the challenge.

Plus, there just simply isn't enough manure, or even plant biomass, available to apply 17 tonnes per hectare, for even a single annual rice crop across the whole of Bangladesh. That's enough of a problem, but when you consider there are actually two rice crops a year, the full scale of the problem becomes apparent!

Green manure

In answer to some of these problems, the new study proposes the use of a leguminous 'green manure' crop. These pulse crops fix nitrogen into the soil from the air through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in their roots. They provide enough nitrogen for their own growth and more, and when ploughed under provide nitrogen for a subsequent crop too.

However for such a crop to be used in Bangladesh, it would have to take the place of a food crop, effectively halving the amount of food the land can provide. The cropping intensity in many developed countries is well over two crops per year, but I have seen as many as four to five crops per year in places that are elevated and flood-free.

Besides substituting for a food crop, green manure crops would also require cutting and ploughing under the soil. While ploughing technology has increased dramatically in the last decade in many developed countries, it is mostly the two-wheel tractors or roto-tiller types; thus making it a significant challenge to plough down any high-biomass green manure or crop residues into the soil.

Some propose a greater use of leguminous food crops to supply nitrogen for the proceeding cereal crop and where possible, growers would love to expand pulses. However, in South Asia, while the national pulse yields appear stable, switching to more of these crops is quite risky for individual farmers due to unseasonable rainfall, diseases, and poor growing environments.

Faced with a choice

So, to make compost effectively, one has to have surplus plant biomass and cow dung. For the poor who have limited land and animals, this is quite difficult.

Surveys I have conducted in Bangladesh clearly show that growers that do have the ability to add organics to their land are those who are richer and have larger land holdings and animals. The poor have to rely on purchased fertilisers, whether organic or chemical. When faced with a choice based on labour and expense, the poor choose the non-organic fertilisers.

Another recent study, published in Nature, revealed clearly what plant scientists have known for years - that plants take up some 20+ elements from the soil - whether it is from decomposing organics or chemical fertilisers. That study showed there was absolutely no difference in the biochemical make up of the plants grown in pure organics compared to fertilisers.

When I have asked growers in Bangladesh, most would love to be able to use more organics in their farming production. But due to the lack of availability and costs, organics are actually being used less each year.

Can organic agriculture feed the world? No, but most growers understand that it benefits the soil, and as such its use is is advocated as much as is possible. Unfortunately, for Bangladesh, and many developing countries, those possibilities are diminishing yearly as organics become less and less available and affordable.

Craig Meisner is Adjunct International Professor of Crops and Soils at Cornell University of Ithaca, New York. He is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Bt corn and impact on mycotoxins

- F.Wu, CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, September 2007


This review summarizes the literature linking Bt corn and the reduction of the mycotoxins fumonisin, aflatoxin, deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone. Mycotoxins in field corn cause hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses annually in the USA, and substantially greater losses in other regions of the world. Most of the losses are from aflatoxin contamination, while significant but smaller losses are due to Fusarium mycotoxins, fumonisins and DON. The insecticidal proteins in genetically modified hybrid Bt corn (Zea mays spp.) reduce insect damage from certain Lepidopteran larvae, which in turn can reduce infection of the grain by mycotoxigenic fungi. Where such insect damage is a major factor in mycotoxin contamination, Bt corn can lower mycotoxin levels. Since such damage is not always the most important factor, experimental results have been mixed, especially with aflatoxin levels. Bt corn appears to have a greater impact on the Fusarium mycotoxins than on aflatoxin levels. Studies on economic impacts of Bt corn's mycotoxin reduction are briefly summarized. The benefits in developing countries from mycotoxin reduction could be more significant, particularly in regions where unprocessed corn is a staple in the human diet.


CBC News GMO Debate OECD Summit Edinburgh 2000

- amchughen, YouTube, Sept. 28, 2007


CBC News clip of OECD Summit on GMO safety in Edinburgh March 1, 2000, featuring a debate in which Patrick Holden of the Soil Association predicts the demise of GM crops within five years.


UC Davis seed biologist Kent Bradford acknowledged as "outstanding faculty"

- University of California (press release via SeedQuest), Oct. 3, 2007


UC Davis plant sciences Professor Kent Bradford, known among academic colleagues as an exceptionally devoted faculty member and seed biology scholar, is being honored Oct. 12, 2007 with an Award of Distinction by the campus' College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The award is presented annually to a handful of recipients whose contributions and achievements enrich the image and reputation of the college and enhance its ability to provide public service. The awards are presented during the annual "College Celebration" and include seven individuals in 2007 - alumni, supporters, faculty, and staff. Bradford will receive recognition as "outstanding faculty."

Professor Bradford was the driving force behind the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center, established in 1999 to facilitate interaction between the seed industry and the university. He helped raise more than $1.2 million in capital funds and nearly $400,000 in operational support to launch the vibrant, vital center.

Bradford correctly predicted that the biology and economics of many biotechnologies would converge in the seed - used increasingly as a multipurpose delivery system for agricultural technology.

He is regarded as an innovative professor who has mentored 13 master's students and 10 doctoral students, and supervised another 13 postdoctoral research associates. Bradford has held numerous posts within the campus community, including five years as vegetable crops chair and participation on 40 departmental committees since 1989.

His publication record includes more than 135 peer-reviewed manuscripts or book chapters, 100 published abstracts, and 290 reports, presentations, and invited seminars. Bradford's research contributions have significantly increased the understanding of seed biology for important crops such as tomatoes, melons, lettuce, peas, beans, rice, broccoli, peppers, and carrots.

He was a Fulbright scholar in Argentina from 1998 to 1999. In 2002 he received the Seed Science Award from the Crop Science Society of America for his continuous high-quality research. He is active in a number of professional societies and serves in editorial roles for research journals like Crop Science and California Agriculture. In 2003, Dr. Bradford, was selected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"He is an exceptional leader, among the brightest of the stars within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, as well as the entire University of California system," said colleague Joseph DiTomaso, a UC Davis Cooperative Extension specialist in plant sciences. "Despite all of his accomplishments and his busy schedule, he always seems to have time to help or advise others, including faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students."

*by Andrew Apel, guest editor, andrewapel+at+wildblue.net