Texas Rural Mediation Services, a division of the Texas Dispute Resolution System, in conjunction with the Monsanto Company, will host a crop biotechnology coexistence seminar in Kerrville, Texas, at the YO Ranch Resort June 12 and 13. The seminar will focus on the aspects of organic and genetically modified farming practices and how these methods of farming can coexist.

Gene Valentini, director of the system explains that coexistence is a big issue that can cause hard feelings between neighbors who practice different farming methods. “We depend on producers to put food on the tables and clothes on our backs,” says Valentini. “We must identify issues and use alternative methods to resolve disputes.”

The summit seeks to identify these issues and allow all to express their positions and to suggest alternative methods of dealing with potentially explosive situations.

The crop biotech portion of the Forum for Dispute Resolution in Rural Texas will begin Tuesday afternoon and will focus on the legalities of crop biotech, controversies surrounding crop biotechnology, and who the legal and public policy stakeholders in the crop biotech discussion are.

Wednesday morning will explore the business aspects of crop biotechnology, how producers use crop biotechnology products, and finally how alternative dispute resolution can be used to remedy disputes.

The seminar is part of a much larger summit, which will explore topics such as the use of natural resources (Tuesday morning) and the status of the rural Texas economy (Wednesday afternoon). The summit is open to the public and all seminars are State Bar of Texas approved for Continuing Legal Education Credits and also provide continuing education credits for many other professions.

Speakers include:

· Bryan Endres, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Law, College of Agriculture, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

· Charles Pou, Partner, Harter & Pou, Washington, DC

· Dee Vaughan, Biotechnology Crops Producer, Dumas, TX

· Don Cameron, Conventional, Organic, and Biotechnology Crops Producer, Helm, CA

· Drew Kershen, Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law, University of Oklahoma College of Law, Norman, OK

· Ellen Peffley, Professor, Texas Tech University Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Lubbock, TX

· Fred Yoder, Biotechnology Crops Producer, TX

· Jayne Zanglein, Executive Director, North Carolina Agricultural Mediation Program, Cullowhee, NC

· Kelly Book, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Regulatory Programs, Texas Department of Agriculture, Austin, TX

· Mike Thompson, Executive Director, Iowa Agricultural Mediation Program, Urbandale, IA

· Rachel Lattimore, Partner, Arent Fox LLP, Washington, DC

· Scott Baucum, US Commercial Trait Stewardship Lead, Monsanto Company, St. Louis, MO

For more information, including how to register, is available at www.co.lubbock.tx.us/drc/training.htm.