Mexico's GM corn ban opens market for American farmers
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(Iowa News Service) Mexico has issued a ban on importing genetically modified corn from the U.S., potentially opening a new market for American farmers.
Mexico is the second-largest importer of U.S. grown corn. The latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show Mexico imported about $18.7 billion worth of American corn, or about 40 percent of what the U.S. exported. Now, the Mexican government is moving to ban genetically modified corn, opting for natural, organic options, much to the dismay of American ag product and fertilizer companies.
Joe Maxwell, co-founder of the group Farm Action, said the government should not be involved in deciding what other countries can import.
"We disagree with the United States government's position," Maxwell explained. "They ought to be representing a market opportunity for America's farmers that pays a premium."
Maxwell argued market opportunities would be created by Mexico's demand for more naturally grown corn, which could yield American farmers willing to grow it an additional 50 cents per bushel and as much as 75 cents more in Iowa, based on the state's soil quality for growing a specialty crop. Corn growers have continued to modify crop genetics in search of higher, more predictable yields.
Maxwell emphasized farmers deserve the right to capitalize on the opportunity, but argued the USDA is pushing back on the ban because of support from U.S. corporate farm interests who stand to profit on genetically modified crops, especially fertilizer companies, who are working to stop Mexico's ban.
"In this case, marketing Bayer-Monsanto's patented traits," Maxwell noted. "Marketing their particular chemicals when it goes against an opportunity for farmers to have access to a premium market that could pay over $80 an acre more on almost 4 million acres of U.S. corn ground."
Farm Action has submitted an application to testify before a panel discussing the trade dispute between the U.S. and Mexico created by the genetically modified corn ban.