Subcommittee Highlights Importance of Ag Biotechnology

Published online: Jul 20, 2011
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Rep. Timothy V. Johnson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture held a public hearing to review and discuss the opportunities and benefits of agricultural biotechnology for farmers, the environment, food and energy security, and competition in the global marketplace.
The United Nations is predicting that the global population will grow by one-third to 9.1 billion by 2050. This will require a 70 percent increase in agricultural production. Biotechnology has proven to be an essential tool in meeting this challenge of increasing our safe and affordable food supply. New biotech crops can continue to help meet the growing demand for food by increasing production on each acre of land while simultaneously reducing inputs, such as fuel and fertilizer, used for each bushel produced.
"Global population growth creates a pressing humanitarian challenge.  We can either meet this demand by utilizing marginal lands and lands with fragile soils and poor water resources, or we can make the smart choice of increasing the production capacity of the plants and animals themselves.  Innovation in agricultural science and technology is the key," said Chairman Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL).
"Agriculture biotechnology is and will continue to be vitally important as American farmers work to feed a growing population around the globe. While large commodity crops like corn and soybeans have already realized the benefits of this science, the next generation of agriculture biotechnology holds immense promise for specialty crops, like the fruits and vegetables we grow in California's Central Valley," said Ranking Member Jim Costa (D-CA).
Written testimony provided by the witnesses for the Subcommittee hearing is linked below.
Witness List:
Panel I
The Honorable Charles F. Conner, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Washington, D.C.
Roger N. Beachy, Ph.D., President Emeritus, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Calestous Juma, Ph.D., Professor of the Practice of International Development, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts