Biotech Panel Appointed in D.C.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A committee appointed Friday to advise the government on development and use of genetically engineered crops will include organic farmers, critics of biotech food, consumer advocates, scientists and executives of major seed companies.

``It is my hope that this group, which brings together people with a range of perspectives and experiences, will engage in the kind of thoughtful and civil debate on biotechnology that our country now needs,'' Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said. Glickman appointed former Rep. Dennis Eckart, D-Ohio, as chairman of the 38-member panel. So diverse are the views of the committee's members that USDA plans to hire a professional facilitator to help Eckart manage the panel.

The committee includes representatives of the Monsanto Co., General Mills Inc., the Environmental Defense Fund, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Consumer Federation of America, Rural Advancement Foundation International, National Corn Growers Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The committee's first meetings will be March 29-30 in Washington. The panel is authorized to stay in operation for two years.

Glickman has also asked the National Academy of Sciences to review USDA's approval process for genetically engineered crops. Critics say the agency has approved new varieties without adequately testing their potential impact on the environment.

USDA is among several agencies involved in regulating biotech crops. Others include the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Committee, authorized for two years, will hold its first meeting on March 29-30 in Washington. The committee meeting will be open to the public.

Secretary Glickman appointed Dennis Eckart, a former Congressman from Ohio, as chairman of the committee. Mr. Eckart is currently an attorney at Baker and Hostetler, LLP, in Washington, DC. The Committee's appointed members include

Dale E. Bauman -- Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor and Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, Department of Animal Science and the Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University Ithaca, New York

Daniel R. Botkin -- Research Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, California

Carolyn Brickey -- Executive Director, National Campaign for Pesticide Policy Reform, San Francisco, California; and member, National Organic Standards Board

R. Jeffrey Burkhardt -- Professor of Food and Resource Economics, Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; and member, US/EU Committee on Ethics and Food Biotechnology

R. James Cook -- R. James Cook Endowed Chair in Wheat Research, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington

James F. Dodson -- Farmer and seed sales representative for Pioneer Hi- Bred International, Inc., Robstown, Texas; and Chairman, Environmental Task Force, National Cotton Council

Linda J. Fisher -- Vice President for Government and Public Affairs, Monsanto Company, Washington, DC

Carol T. Foreman -- Distinguished Fellow and Director, the Food Policy Institute, Consumer Federation of America, Chevy Chase, Maryland; and member, USDA Meat and Poultry Inspection Advisory Committee

David J. Frederickson -- President, Minnesota Farmers Union, St. Paul, Minnesota

Rebecca J. Goldburg -- Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund, New York, New York

Michael K. Hansen -- Research Associate, Consumer Policy Institute, Consumers Union, Yonkers, New York

Neil E. Harl -- Professor of Economics and Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Thomas J. Hoban -- Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Marjorie A. Hoy -- Eminent Scholar and Davies, Fischer, and Eckes Professor of Biological Control, Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Charles S. Johnson -- Executive Vice President, Dupont, Wilmington, Delaware; and member, USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service Emerging Market Committee

Anne R. Kapuscinski -- Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota

Edward L. Korwek -- Attorney at Hogan and Hartson, LLP, Washington, DC

Sharan A. Lanini -- Farmer and Sales/Marketing Manager for Growers Transplanting, Inc./Rocket Farms, Salinas, California; and member, California Department of Food and Agriculture Organic Food Act Advisory Committee

Mark Lipson -- Organic Farmer and Policy Program Director, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Davenport, California

Mary-Howell Martens -- Organic Farmer and Adjunct Biology Instructor, Finger Lakes Community College, Penn Yan, New York

Marshall A. Martin -- Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana; and member, National Agricultural Biotechnology Council

J. Calman McCastlain -- Attorney at Pender, McCastlain, and Pak, P.A.;

farmer and grain elevator operator; and Director, Arkansas Wheat Promotion Board, Little Rock, Arkansas

E. Bruce McEvoy -- Chief Executive Officer, Sealed Sweet Growers, Inc., Vero Beach, Florida

Margaret G. Mellon -- Director, Agriculture and Biotechnology Program, Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, DC

Lorraine D. Nakai -- Entomologist and Farmer, Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, Farmington, New Mexico

Philip T. Nelson -- Farmer; Chairman, Livestock and Dairy GRITS Committee, Illinois Farm Bureau; and Chairman, American Farm Bureau Federation, Swine Advisory Committee, Seneca, Illinois

Carol Nottenburg -- Attorney and Director of Intellectual Property and Principal Scientist, Center for the Application of Molecular Biology to International Agriculture, Red Hill, Australia

Roger C. Pine -- Farmer and President, National Corn Growers Association, Lawrence, Kansas

Channapatna S. Prakash -- Professor of Plant Molecular Genetics, College of Agriculture, Tuskegee University, Auburn, Alabama; and member of the U.S. Sweetpotato Crop Advisory Committee

Frank L. Sims -- President, North American Grain, Cargill, Inc., Minnetonka, Minnesota; and member, Chicago Board of Trade

J. Michael Sligh -- Director for Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Advancement Foundation International--U.S.A., Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Jerome B. Slocum -- Farmer and President, North Mississippi Grain Company, Cold Water, Mississippi

Austin P. Sullivan, Jr. -- Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations, General Mills, Inc., Plymouth, Minnesota; and Chairman, Biotechnology Task Force, Grocery Manufacturers of America

Virginia V. Weldon -- Physician and Director, Center for the Study of American Business, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri; and member, President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology

David M. Winkles, Jr. -- Farmer and President, South Carolina Farm Bureau, Sumter, South Carolina; and member, United Soybean Board

Margaret M. Wittenberg -- Vice-President of Government and Public Affairs, Whole Foods Market, Inc., Dripping Springs, Texas; and member, National Organic Standards Board

Michael W. Yost -- Farmer and President, American Soybean Association, Murdock, Minnesota

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