Friday, October 10, 2014

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AFBF unveils online grassroots biotech toolkit

Washington—The American Farm Bureau Federation’s recently launched biotech toolkit is a guide for farmers and ranchers who want to share the many positives about biotechnology with policymakers, community members and others.  Accessible at, this free online resource includes an overview of biotechnology; an explanation of biotechnology’s benefits to consumers, the environment, farmers, the U.S. economy, and more; links to credible sources for biotech information; and avenues for getting active on social media.  

“From Capitol Hill to the tiniest town in California, there is a lot of misinformation out there about biotechnology,” said Andrew Walmsley, American Farm Bureau Federation biotechnology specialist. “Whether meeting with community leaders or government officials and their staff, AFBF’s new toolkit offers farmers and ranchers the resources to set the record straight.”

  Among the many resources the site offers are one-pagers focusing on the numerous benefits of biotechnology that can be accessed anytime online or printed off to share to at a community event, town hall gathering or a meeting with a lawmaker or candidate in any city or in any town.  
Social media, too, is a key part of outreach.  

“One of the most pervasive sources of misinformation on biotechnology is social media,” noted Walmsley. “This biotech toolkit offers guidance on who to follow on Twitter and which messages should be shared to raise awareness and answer questions.”  

The walls against biotechnology were built over time, and we can’t wait any longer to start chipping away at them, especially as many voters, state legislators, candidates and congressional lawmakers are now being asked to take a position on GMO labeling and other biotechnology-related issues, warned Walmsley.  

“People have valid questions about where their food comes from, how it’s grown and why it’s grown that way. Unfortunately, the answers all too often come from those with anti-biotech agenda who are having an increasingly negative influence on policymaking and making people afraid of their food,” he said.  

Early next year, Congress could consider a bill similar to the Farm Bureau-supported Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which would make it clear that the Food and Drug Administration is the nation’s foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.  

“Now is the time to lay the groundwork for passage of this legislation by sharing the information provided in this toolkit with congressional lawmakers. By the time the bill is on the House and Senate floors, lawmakers will already have had an earful from their anti-biotech constituents,” Walmsley said.

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