Source: National Corn Growers Association news release
As the U.S. Trade Representative takes next steps on a dispute settlement request with Mexico over biotech corn, corn grower leaders across the country are reflecting on a months-long advocacy campaign that paid off for the nation’s farmers.
“We began sounding the alarms about the ban last fall, because we knew the decree would have a devastating impact on U.S. corn growers and rural communities,” said National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag. “We were working with members of Congress, engaging the media and meeting with the Biden administration. Thanks to these efforts, we were able to make a strong case that the U.S. government needed to intervene in this matter.”
The concerns by U.S. farmers stem from a 2020 decree by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador that sought to ban imports of biotech corn beginning in January 2024. Mexico issued a revised decree in February of this year that banned biotech corn for human consumption, effective immediately, and left the door open for a future ban on all biotech corn.
Since Mexico is a top market for corn and the number one agricultural export from the U.S., NCGA and state corn grower leaders have made this issue a top priority. As an example of their efforts, NCGA and state corn grower leaders:
•Appeared in major media outlets, such as Reuters, Wall Street Journal, the Hill and on Fox News to make their case that action was needed.
•Engaged corn grower allies in Congress to ensure they were speaking out on the issue with the Biden administration, in the press and in committee hearings.
•Held a briefing for members of Congress and their staff to emphasize the impact to U.S. producers.
•Ensured the concerns of state-based corn growers were heard by the Biden administration.
The media have largely credited NCGA and state corn grower leaders for their advocacy efforts on advancing this issue.
“After months of pressure last fall from the National Corn Growers Association and farm-state members of Congress, the Biden administration sent Mexico a formal, written request on Jan. 30 asking it to justify its proposed biotechnology measures,” a Politico reporter noted shortly after the announcement was made.
Now that a dispute settlement request is underway, NCGA and state corn grower leaders will be working closely with USTR as it makes its next steps.