North Dakota is the number one producer of hard red spring wheat in the United States. The state is also the where Monsanto hopes to launch the first biotech variety of wheat. But North Dakota's largest customer of wheat, Japan, made it clear to North Dakota state and federal agricultural leaders that Japan would cease to buy wheat from North Dakota or any U.S. state if Monsanto's variety was accepted.
Representatives from several Japanese environmental and consumer groups provided a petition signed by 414 Japanese organizations to North Dakota state and federal agricultural leaders explaining repercussions Japan would take, including looking to Canada and Australia for the country's entire wheat supply.
Monsanto has said it would not market the biotech wheat until it had sufficient acceptance from potential buyers. North Dakota leaders are struggling with the possible benefits biotechnology could bring wheat, but also want to protect markets.