The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published a notice in the Federal Register asking the public to comment on how agricultural coexistence in the United States can be strengthened. Comments are due by January 3, 2014.
U.S. farmers in the 21st Century engage in many forms of agriculture, including conventional, organic, identity-preserved, and genetically engineered (GE) crop production. USDA is unequivocal in its supports for all these forms of agriculture. We need all of them to meet our country’s collective needs for food security, energy production, carbon offsets and the economic sustainability of rural communities. Our goal is to promote the coexistence of all these approaches through cooperation and science-based stewardship practices.
Coexistence is an important challenge facing U.S. agriculture today. Farmers and others in the food and feed production chain have an important role in collaborating to make coexistence work, particularly in the areas of stewardship, contracting and attention to gene flow. As we seek to improve cooperation among those involved in diverse agricultural systems, we are interested in hearing what practices and activities are available or in use, and how USDA can help make coexistence work for everyone involved.
With this Notice, we want to hear more about the partnerships that are already occurring in rural America, and what, if anything, USDA can to do to help make collaboration and coexistence work for everyone involved. We are looking to learn more about local voluntary solutions to coexistence challenges; examples of effective coexistence practices; and how these kinds of information and resources could be used in a variety of different ways to support coexistence. We need to hear from as many commenters as possible in order to find partnerships and solutions that will work for U.S. agriculture.
Comments can be submitted online at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0047-0001 or mailed to Docket No. APHIS-2013-0047, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. The deadline for comment submission is January 3, 2014. Once the comment period closes, USDA will carefully review all information and feedback, and plan a future workshop to explore possible next steps.