USDA’s Agriculture Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse visited central Ohio yesterday and planned to talk about the farm bill, though he ended up fielding questions about the discovery of genetically modified wheat discovered in an Oregon field.
“We were notified that a farmer in Oregon had volunteer wheat that was sprayed with glyphosate and didn’t die right away. It was taken for testing to Oregon State University and we were notified by scientists there. APHIS got involved and we obtained samples. We ran our own tests to do the verifications to determine exactly what gene was in this plant. We have an ongoing investigation and we need answers to how this happened,” Scuse said. “We have a team of investigators in Oregon talking with the neighbors and seed companies to determine exactly what happened and how this took place. Many people are waiting for us to complete this investigation so we can supply some answers. We are concerned about this, but it will take some time for consumers and our trading partners to look at the information we provided.”
On his visit, Scuse toured the Ohio State University Olentangy River Wetland Research Park and highlighted the importance of maintaining a firm commitment to soil conservation and wetland protection. He then visited the beautiful Shipley Dairy near Newark where he heard from representatives of the broad spectrum of Ohio agriculture about the farm bill.
“Roundtable discussions on farm bill started well over a year ago to see what farmers and ranchers want in a farm bill. Hopefully this next week the Senate will bring the bill to the floor for a full vote and the House is looking at bringing the bill for a full vote sometime in June,” Scuse said. “We’re looking for a strong safety net, adequate nutrition program spending, a strong conservation title, and being able to continue research development in energy and new products.”