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August 21, 2000


Corn Growers Reject Bt Conclusions



Corn Growers Reject Researchers' Bt Study Conclusions
August 21, 2000


Stewart Reeve, NCGA, 314-275-9915, ext.139

ST. LOUIS -- The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) disagrees with
the conclusions made by two Iowa State University entomologists in an
abstract from a soon-to-be-published study on the effects of Bacillus
thuringiensis (Bt) corn pollen on Monarch butterflies.

While the research may demonstrate an impact on Monarch larvae under
controlled conditions, the findings do not support the abstract's final
conclusion that "transgenic insecticidal crops" need more evaluation
before being planted over extensive areas, said NCGA Chairman Roger Pine,
a Lawrence, Kan., corn grower. Pine is and a member of the USDA Advisory
Committee on Biotechnology which advises the Secretary of Agriculture on
ag biotechnology issues.

First, Pine noted, the scientific findings are nothing new. "The
ecological effects are not unexpected, and are in line with other studies
that have been conducted," he said. "Second, these findings were based on
research using a single type of Bt, not all Bt traits. The Bt used in this
study is already known to express the insecticide at the highest level in
its pollen. Finally, corn hybrids incorporating this type of Bt trait are
not widely planted."

Pine explained that Bt technology is not nearly as detrimental to
butterflies and other non-target species as some alternative technologies
used to control insect pests, and allows farmers to produce a safe,
abundant food supply.

"NCGA fully supports the science-based decision making process currently
employed by the EPA in evaluating and approving Bt technology," Pine
emphasized. "NCGA supports continued evaluation of all agricultural
production techniques. However, we cannot evaluate these technologies in a
vacuum. We won't stop dead in our tracks, when a single study draws faulty
conclusions from unrelated scientific findings."

National Corn Growers Association
632 Cepi Dr
Chesterfield, MO 63005
Phon: 636-733-9004
Fax: 636-733-9005