WASHINGTON — As individuals whose hearts and livelihoods revolve around the care and health of their animals as well as commitment to feed the world, farmers see great future in genetic editing technology with its promises to increase the well-being of animals through disease resistance.
But farmers – who at their core are also a cautious breed – are also vigilant of the potential hazards one can imagine coming from such a new technology.
While they hope to reap the rewards of progress, they do not want to threaten the lives and safety of their flocks or herds or their own family that depends upon the income from their work.
The FDA has a huge role to play in ensuring that the technology is safe to use and distribute, but also that fear does not stall progress made by science. Therefore they are applying appropriate due diligence in a timely fashion. Approval should be done just as quickly as our safety can be ensured through good and thorough assessment by FDA. However, the FDA must be judicious not to stymie the approval of technologies that can leap-frog many generations of natural selection breakthroughs in just one generation cycle.
This is not just for the farmers – but for the consumer as well. Genome editing technology has the ability to increase the quality and quantity of food produced, a great step forward for a growing world full of open mouths, hungry bellies and thin wallets.
As the FDA struggles to get its arms around this new technology and how it should be used, we at the National Grange urge the creation of a regulatory review process for genome editing technologies by the FDA that is fast and efficient.
We thank the agency for its work on this tremendously complex but potentially unparalleled progress, as well as their diligence and interest in continuing to move forward the industry of agriculture and the security of our food system.
BACKGROUND ON GRANGE: The National Grange is the nation’s oldest agricultural advocacy organization, proudly nonpartisan and member-focused. Founded in 1867, the Grange has more than 1,700 local chapters across the country whose fraternal members set the policy of the organization through grassroots, democratic policy action, advancing issues from local Granges through their State and National delegate bodies at the organization’s annual meeting. Find more information about the Grange and our policies at nationalgrange.org.
–Betsy Huber, National Grange President