The conference will address many of the production, marketing and trade issues surrounding the continued introduction of genetically modified organisms into agricultural production. Many nationally renowned economists are on the agenda, said Dr. Parr Rosson, director for the Center for North American Studies, which is co-sponsoring the event.

"Those attending the conference will get a better understanding of how trade in GMOs may occur under new rules developed by the World Trade Organization," Rosson said. "We will also identify market opportunities for GMOs, as well as discuss the challenges and opportunities likely to emerge if the European Union does not open its market to crops using new genetically modified technology."

Other questions that will be addressed include:

  • Why are some U.S. wheat farmers opposed to GMO wheat? Would GMO producers lose more than what GMO producers would gain to cross-contamination? Why has there been reluctance by Canada to introduce GMO wheat, when the acceptance of GMO canola is increasing
  • ?
  • There has been a significant increase in productivity brought by the Green Revolution. Will the new "Gene Revolution" have similar results?
  • Malnutrition remains a significant problem in less-developed countries. Are GMOs are the solution to the malnutrition problem?
  • Those who oppose the adoption of GMOs argue that overall they do not result in an increase in producer profitability nor add to food quality. Can food quality be significantly enhanced through GMOs?
Two sessions, "STARLINK Contamination-Lessons to Be Learned" and "Europe's Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology: Precaution or Protection?" will be of particular interest, Rosson said.

Other sessions to note include:

  • "Costs and Risks of Testing And Segregating GM Wheat"
  • "Consumer Response to Biotechnology and Information Effects"
  • "Europe's Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology: Precaution or Protection?"
  • "Food Safety Recalls and Consumer Response: The Case of STARLINK"
  • "GMOs: Prospects for Productivity Increases in Developing Countries"
  • "Potential Impacts of GM Spring Wheat on World Wheat Trade"
  • "Consumer Perception and Acceptance of Genetically Modified Foods in Taiwan"
For more information about the conference, call Rosson or Flynn Adcock, economist at the Center for North American Studies, at (979) 845-7277.

Information is also available on the Web at http://www.fred.ifas.ufl.edu/conference/fre/gmotexas.

Blair Fannin is a writer for Texas A&M University.

e-mail: b-fannin@tamu.edu