Members of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) met this week for the group’s fifth round of deliberations to identify solutions for improving coexistence in American agriculture.

The committee has worked for a year to respond to the charge set forth by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to determine “what type of compensation mechanisms, if any, would be appropriate to address economic losses by farmers in which the value of their crops is reduced by unintended presence of [genetically engineered] material(s).” The group intends to deliver a final report to Vilsack in early November.

Keith Kisling, a farmer from Burlington, Okla., is representing wheat growers on AC21. Kisling and other AC21 members have pointed out during the discussions that data regarding actual economic impact to organic and other producers is critical to ensuring a compensation mechanism is appropriate.

Discussions on the final day of meetings this week centered on a draft recommendation that if data collected shows a compensation mechanism is warranted, the Secretary could consider a crop insurance-type program utilizing a pilot to test its feasibility.

The final report is also likely to include recommendations for proactive outreach, education, research and the use of good neighborly practices.

“Coexistence is not about safety or health, it is about finding ways for different production methods to work together for a greater American agriculture,” Kisling said after the meeting.

For more on the wheat industry’s work in biotechnology, please visit www.wheatworld.org/biotech.