USDA forming advisory committee on biotechnology

USDA is forming an advisory committee on biotechnology.
USDA is forming an advisory committee on biotechnology.
U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the agency has reopened the nomination process to create an Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) to provide guidance to USDA on issues related to the application of biotechnology in agriculture.

The agency had already accepted nominations for the committee at the end of last year, but a release from USDA said it is reopening the nomination process to provide supplemental names for the committee, which will be made up of 20 to 25 people from different interest groups.

At least 12 slots on the committee, including chairman, need to be filled.

Biotechnology products continue to be an important driver for the U.S. agricultural sector, Vilsack said, adding that the USDA's role is to protect consumers, the environment and the farm economy while also contributing to global food needs.

"This advisory committee will be asked to bring information and insights to inform our decisions, in keeping with President Obama's commitment to seeking the best advice available," Vilsack said.

USDA said it encourages nominations from a broad range of interests including scientists, consumer advocates, agricultural producers, medical professionals, international traders and others with a stake in USDA programs.

An announcement describing the requirements for submitting nominations was published in the March 30, 2009 Federal Register.