The South Dakota Soybean Association (SDSA) welcomed news this morning out of Brussels that the European Union (EU) has approved three outstanding biotech soybean traits for import and processing. The approved traits include the Xtend dicamba-tolerant soybean and Vistive Gold high oleic soybean products from Monsanto, and the Balance GT FG72 soybean from Bayer CropScience.
The three soybean events had received positive scientific opinions from the European Food Safety Agency over a year ago, and had been waiting for final approval by the EU Commission since January.
In Europe, the approval means that the EU’s livestock and feed industry, which is more than 70 percent dependent on imported feed, can get the high-quality protein it needs. In the U.S., American farmers need an ever-increasing range of tools to tackle the challenge of resistant weeds that now impact nearly every soy-growing state. Similarly, with the continuing move away from trans-fats in American diets, farmers need additional tools to produce soybeans that meet that market demand as well.
“Europe is one of the largest customers of U.S. soybean farmers with over 165 million bushels of soybeans in exports already this year. While we are very relieved to see these three traits approved for import into the European Union, we still need to advocate for improvements in the timeliness of their process,” said Jerry Schmitz, farmer from Vermillion and SDSA president.
U.S. soybean farmers simply can’t risk unapproved traits making their way into the grain export stream, resulting in rejected shipments abroad. The longer and more tedious that process is, the more barriers stand between soybean farmers and their productivity, and the less incentive technology partners have to bring these new products to market.