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SAF submits comments supporting streamlined biotech regulations

Vibrant colors. Unusual shapes. Longer vase lives. Enhanced fragrance. Greater resistance to pests and diseases.

shutterstock 707930029‘Crop innovation holds great promise for the future of floriculture, and farmers recognize how these advancements not only improve farm profitability but also hold benefits for the entire supply chain and its customers,’ wrote the Society of American Florists in a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service detailing the industry’s support for updated biotech regulations.These are some of the most important attributes for new varieties of flowers. In August, the Society of American Florists submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service detailing the industry’s support for updated biotech regulations that would help streamline the process by which new varieties are developed and brought to the market.

Specifically, SAF wrote to Dr. Alan Pearson, assistant deputy director of APHIS, that the association believes a USDA proposal — “Movement of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms”—would reduce regulatory burdens and modernize existing biotechnology rules, some of which have not been changed in 30 years, despite significant scientific advancements in the field.

“Crop innovation holds great promise for the future of floriculture, and farmers recognize how these advancements not only improve farm profitability but also hold benefits for the entire supply chain and its customers,” wrote SAF in the letter.

“We believe advances in plant breeding technology will allow growers to supply high quality ornamental crops desired by domestic and global customers.”

The letter also noted that “SAF is supportive of a regulatory system that makes innovation and technology improvements in our crops available to the full breeder community.”

In addition, “advances in breeding techniques could be an opportunity to more precisely and efficiently bring new traits to market that improve the ornamental quality, reduce input needs like water and fertilizer and impart pest and disease resistance, thus reducing reliance on pesticides.”

SAF also took the opportunity to educate APHIS officials on specific exemptions outlined in the proposal as they relate to innovation in the industry.

The letter is the latest update in an ongoing dialogue between APHIS and SAF on new regulations.

President Trump in June also signaled his support for streamlined regulations with an executive order.

Drew Gruenburg is the chief operating officer of the Society of American Florists.