In an effort to improve Bt corn refuge compliance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated new requirements as part of the Bt corn re-registration process this past fall. The Bt corn registrants are incorporating these new requirements (outlined below) into their Compliance Assurance Programs for the 2011 growing season:

On-farm refuge compliance assessments will be conducted by an independent third-party and will be focused on (i) areas of highest risk of insect pest resistance development and (ii) growers who did not buy sufficient refuge seed from the Bt corn registrant.

Growers found to be out of compliance with the refuge requirements (i) now have a higher probability of losing access to Bt corn if compliance is not established and maintained and (ii) will be checked more frequently by the Bt corn registrants.

Seed bag tags will better depict refuge size requirements

Under the Compliance Assurance Program, thousands of growers are surveyed about their IRM compliance practices each year through EPA mandated on-farm assessments.  Growers who do not comply with refuge requirements can lose access to the technology.  Similarly, seed dealers who do not follow through on their commitments stand to lose the ability to sell the products. 

“Biotechnology is an important part of modern agriculture’s ability to sustainably meet the worlds increasing demands for food, feed and fuel,” said Chad Blindauer, Chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. “Given the benefits of Bt products, farmers and trait providers have a duty to ensure proper stewardship to keep this technology viable and on the market.”