Subcommittee Highlights the Benefits of Biotechnology

Jul 9, 2014

MEDIA CONTACT:
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
tamara.hinton@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON – Rep. Rodney Davis, Acting Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, today held a public hearing to consider the benefits of biotechnology. Witnesses included professors from Cornell University, Harvard University, and Tuskegee University, as well as a dairy farmer and mother.  They all emphasized how consumers, farmers and the environment have benefited from traditional and modern applications of biotechnology. They also responded to questions from Committee Members concerning the challenges of relaying factual information about these technologies to the general public.

"It was important to hold this hearing on the benefits of biotechnology because the stakes are high and biotech has a great story to tell.  Our farmers have the vital job of feeding a growing world and biotechnology is part of the solution.  I’m excited for the future and believe the United States must continue to safely innovate through biotechnology to achieve higher crop yields, fewer hungry people and an improved environment," said Acting Chairman Rodney Davis (R-IL-13).

"It is clear from the hearing today that biotechnology plays a critical role in meeting a number of consumer and societal needs. In a world where it is important to help feed our expanding population while ensuring that everyone has access to safe, diverse, and quality food, the U.S. can, and should, be a leader in biotech development to address the coming challenges for future generations.  Whether it is treating vitamin deficiency, autoimmune disorders or addressing hunger, biotechnology has and will continue to play a large role in global agriculture," said Chairman Austin Scott (R-GA-08).   

"The U.S. produces the safest and healthiest food and fiber in the world, and biotechnology plays a critical role as we work to meet the needs of a growing population.  As science and technology advances, it’s important that we don’t pit different agriculture production systems against one another – we should support all forms of agriculture. From the creation of seeds that can better withstand drought to the development of fortified rice to assist those suffering from a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals, biotech is playing a crucial role in our society by feeding the world, protecting our environment and improving global health. Today’s hearing made it very clear that we still have a lot of work to do to communicate with the public about the benefits of biotech, and I believe this committee can play a vital role in doing just that," said Ranking Member Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5).

Biotechnology is a set of tools that uses living organisms to make or modify a product, improve plants, trees or animals, or develop microorganisms for specific uses. Biotechnology includes traditional applications and more modern applications to grow or culture cells for research or to improve crops for food, feed, fuel, and fiber. Every cultivated crop and farm-raised animal is the product of some form of biotechnology. Some of the benefits of biotechnology include fighting diseases, increasing available food sources, and conserving natural resources.

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below. To view the archived webcast click here.

Witness List:

Panel I

Dr. David Just, Professor, Co-Director, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Dr. Calestous Juma, Professor, Practice of International Development, and Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA

Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller, Assistant Professor, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL

Mrs. Joanna Lidback, Owner, The Farm at Wheeler Mountain, Westmore, VT

###