NAWG: FDA approved drought-tolerant wheat could open door for producers
The National Association of Wheat Growers says the recent approval of a drought-tolerant wheat variety is a step towards commercialization for U.S. producers.
Jake Westlin, Vice President of Policy and Communications, says the HB4 variety is only allowed human consumption, but it could create additional interest from farmers who face lower production because drought. “A lot of people will look at this a little closer. I think there will be other factors at play like ‘how does it work?’ Is it an affordable product alternative that they already have?”
The Food and Drug Administration recently found that the variety doesn’t pose safety concerns to consumers. The variety was developed by Argentina-based Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp and is submitting it to USDA for approval.
He tells Brownfield the trait could help wheat growers in arid regions boost yields by nearly a quarter. “If those research trials hold true, where you see that 20 percent yield bump, does it meet that requirement from a grower perspective in terms of a cost-benefit analysis?”
Argentina is the only country to approve HB4 for commercial use. Argentina, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand have also approved the variety for human consumption.