AFACT: Ag industry must unify to protect technologies

The American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology (AFACT) said they remain committed to unifying the industry for the protection and preservation of modern agricultural technologies in the production of safe, nutritious and affordable food. AFACT co-leaders and dairy farmers Liz Doornink, Baldwin, Wis. and Carrol Campbell, Winfield, Kan., issued the statement following the announcement that Monsanto is seeking to sell the business functions associated with its recombinant bovine somatotropin product (rbST), POSILAC®.

The 1,400-member AFACT organized a year ago out of concerns related to rbST use restrictions placed on dairy producers by milk processors and retailers, even though the technology is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. The organization also raised concerns over  “absence labels” on milk and other dairy products that create confusion among consumers and raise questions over the safety of milk that is not labeled “rbST-free”, “hormone-free“, ”pesticide-free“ and “antibiotic-free”.

AFACT has since attempted to unify the agricultural industry against activist attacks on other technologies. In July, the organization held a “Power of Producer Advocacy Summit” in Chicago, attracting representatives from nearly 40 companies and organizations representing a cross section of agriculture and supporting services.

“Monsanto’s announcement creates further need for organizations like AFACT and a unified industry,” said Doornink. “Summit participants encouraged AFACT leadership to diversify its membership and sponsorship, as technology providers will continue to feel the pressure from activist organizations and those who wish to employ tactics like niche marketing with absence labels. Unfortunately, those who created the challenges for rbST may be further motivated by Monsanto’s announcement.”

“AFACT is committed to be a voice for producers who want the freedom to choose safe, effective and proven technologies for the stewardship of our livestock and natural resources,” said Campbell. “We will continue our efforts to support rbST and all the other agricultural practices that provide consumers with safe, nutritious and affordable foods. Our efforts to grow our producer membership and industry support will be critical, as we have many important messages to share with the people and organizations that process, retail and consume our products.”

”The leadership of AFACT received very favorable feedback from Summit participants on the opportunities and value of producer advocacy,” Doornink said. “Participants were astounded with AFACT’s grassroots leadership, passion, commitment and knowledge on the societal benefits of the technologies and practices we employ to produce safe, affordable and nutritious food products in a sustainable manner. Many of these organizations are considering ways to collaborate with AFACT, as the threats to our industry are significant while global demands for food production grow.”

To learn more about AFACT and become a member go to their website at www.itisafact.org.

AFACT Vision
To provide the consumer safe, wholesome and nutritious food at a good value as well as factual and truthful information regarding the advances in modern agriculture.

AFACT Mission
1. Provide consumers safe, valuable and wholesome food products.
2. Safeguard the image of modern agriculture products in the market place.
3. Support advancements in modern agriculture that would benefit food production both domestically and internationally.
4. Educate all in the food chain that “sustainable” agriculture utilizes advancements in modern agriculture to produce safe, nutritious and affordable foods that meet social, environmental and economical responsibilities.

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