Two Virginians Appointed To Biotech Committee

USDA committee seeks workable solutions to biotech challenges.

Published on: Jul 27, 2011

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced two Virginians will be among 22 new appointments to the reactivated Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21). They are Gregory A. Jaffe, McLean, Va., director of the Biotechnology Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Angela M. Olsen, Arlington, Va., senior advisor and associate general counsel for DuPont Company and Pioneer Hi-Bred.

The appointees, announced June 24, will initially serve one or two-year terms but can be reappointed to serve up to six consecutive years.

"This advisory committee will come together to continue investigating the challenges of coexistence among different forms of agricultural production," says Vilsack. "I hope this committee will recommend workable solutions that will enhance the ability of all farmers to grow the crops they want in order to effectively meet the needs of their customers."

The 22 appointees that make up the current Advisory Committee come from 16 different states. They represent the biotechnology industry, the organic food industry, farming communities, the seed industry, food manufacturers, state government, consumer and community development groups, the medical profession, and academic researchers.

Both Jaffe and Olsen have close ties and access to government officials in Washington, D.C.

Jaffe is the director of the Biotechnology Project, an initiative of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is headquartered in D.C. One of his efforts is to ensure that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) "have a strong, but not stifling, regulatory system that independently reviews and approves each product of safety before it is released into the environment or commercialized."

The CSPI addresses national issues such as nutrition, food safety, health and much more. The organization says it seeks "to educate the public and advocate government policies that are consistent with scientific evidence on health and environmental issues and counter industry's powerful influence on public opinion and public policies."

Read more about Jaffe's initiatives and about CSPI   at http://www.cspinet.org/about/index.html

Olsen is an attorney who represents agricultural and biotechnological issues for DuPont and Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. DuPont says farmers will have to feed 9 billion people in the world by the year 2050, a feat the company notes will require producing more food with higher nutritional value, while making food more accessible and affordable.

Although the products are not yet available for sale or use, Pioneer Hi-Bred is currently promoting their genetically modified Optimum Gat trait which is now in the pipeline. This trait enables multiple modes of action by achieving glyphosate and ALS options. The company also offers Optimum AcreMax insect protection and other GMO product solutions.

Learn more about these Pioneer products at http://www.pioneer.com/home/site/about/products/product-traits-technology/.