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Executive Order on Agricultural Biotechnology Is an Important Step Forward

Karen Batra
Karen Batra
June 12, 2019

During his June 11th visit to Iowa, President Donald Trump pledged to boost the ethanol industry and protect farmers. Specifically, the president lifted a summertime ban on E15 gasoline blends and then signed an executive order to streamline the process for approving products of agricultural biotechnology.

The executive order, titled "Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology" was signed by the President “to speed up reviews of biotechnology so that farmers can get access to critical scientific advances faster, and reap the full benefits of American innovation for many years into the future.”

The directive requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review their respective agricultural biotechnology regulatory systems in an effort to streamline processes and remove overly burdensome regulations.

  • The USDA secretary, EPA administrator, and FDA commissioner will, within 180 days, identify regulations that can be streamlined.

  • Agency heads will also work with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to create an international outreach strategy to increase global acceptance of agricultural biotechnology products. This effort aims to open and maintain markets for U.S. agricultural exports.

  • Agencies will develop an action plan to facilitate engagement with consumers in order to bolster public confidence and acceptance of agricultural biotechnology products.

“BIO applauds the Trump administration for taking this important step forward to ensure government policy does not hinder 21st-century biotechnology from addressing the many global challenges—from a looming food crisis to climate change—facing society today,” said BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood.

“We will continue to engage with the agencies throughout this process to ensure our regulatory infrastructure is science-based and transparent, and just as we are committed to working with the government, we also pledge to be a driver of forthright conversations and dialogues with consumers in an effort to identify shared values and energize public understanding.”

Dana O’Brien, executive vice president of BIO’s food & agriculture section, discussed the executive order with Radio 570 WNAX’s Tom Riter and highlighted how the executive order can help address some of society’s most pressing global challenges and benefit farmers.



“We’ve got climate and weather issues. We’ve got food security and nutrition issues. Sustainability is an important component there, and what our innovative companies are doing—many of which are based in Iowa and South Dakota and Minnesota—they’re developing those products that actually confront those big challenges head on. So, with this executive order, we believe it will better enable the right regulatory agencies to position those technologies for solving those problems … Our farmers work hard everyday for us, all of the people of this country and around the world … and with our knowledge and understanding of genetics and biology, we can help make their job easier.”

A summary of the President’s actions is posted in the White House Fact Sheet:  President Donald J. Trump Is Unleashing Innovation for American Farmers.

Links to key media coverage:

Reuters: Trump simplifies reviews of genetically modified farm products

Bloomberg: Trump Orders Federal Agencies to Ease Approval of New GMO Crops

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Bolsters Biotech Seed Makers