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Leaders of the North American Millers' Association Ask Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman for the Support of USDA on Key Agriculture Issues

May 1, 2003

CONTACT: Betsy Faga, President
202.484.2200, ext.104
bfaga@namamillers.org

Washington, D.C. – May 1, 2003 – Leaders of the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) met with Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman yesterday. The grain millers stated their position on a variety of subjects and asked for the support and action of the United States Department of Agriculture.

NAMA Chairman, John Gillcrist, president of Bartlett Milling Company, was the spokesperson for the grain millers. Gillcrist stated NAMA’s position on each issue:

Nutrition: USDA must play an active and vocal role in conveying a science-based, balanced message on nutrition to the public through the Food Guide Pyramid, Dietary Guidelines and other means at the Department’s disposal.

Biotech Wheat: NAMA supports biotechnology and the advantages that can accrue to it. It is critical that it gain major market approval prior to commercialization and that USDA be proactive in explaining the review process and scientific bases for approval.

Biopharmaceuticals: Based on the current tolerance level of zero for plant-made pharmaceuticals and industrial products, a system guaranteeing 100% confinement is absolutely necessary. USDA and FDA must ensure a system to govern this new technology that promises major benefits and at the same time creates new risks for domestic agriculture.

International Trade: The Administration is urged to ensure that appropriate preferences are provided to food of U.S. origin when humanitarian relief is provided to Iraq, including the UN-administered Oil for Food Program. The Administration must also be responsive to additional World Food Programme needs for timely purchase of additional commodities to avoid civil unrest and to meet the nutritional needs of the Iraqi children. The U.S. should continue to aggressively push biotech food aid issues.

Bioterrorism: USDA must be attentive to proposed regulations to implement the “Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002” to assure they maintain a safe domestic food supply, but do not stymie agricultural trade in the process.

NAMA has 46 member companies operating 169 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills in 38 states and 150 cities. Its membership represents about 95% of the total U.S. capacity.

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Background information on NAMA

Talking points on the issues

List of the NAMA leaders present at the meeting

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