A U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team of Korean reporters and writers visited Iowa on Friday as part of a learning journey to the United States to get in-depth information about biotechnology in corn and other crops.
Korea’s general public has a lot of questions about biotechnology and its applications in food and agriculture. Consumer skepticism in Korea has led to the development of strict biotech labeling laws and an increasingly challenging regulatory systems.
In an effort to show the Korean public how biotech crops are developed, regulated and, ultimately, benefit U.S. farmers and consumers, Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) hosted a team of media professionals to provide a window for the broader public in Korea.
This team’s visit included stops at Kyle Phillips family farm, Smith Fertilizer and Grain near Knoxville and Carver Conference and Learning center in Johnston with discussions focused on broadening the team’s understanding of both the safety and the benefits of biotechnology. “My main objective for the visit was to share my farming story. I wanted to show them where corn comes from first hand and that we eat and feed our families the same corn products they do in Korea,” said Phillips after the visit.
Shin, IK Jun of Pyeonghwa (translates to Peace) Broadcasting Network says that communications is the key to reassuring Korean consumers of the safety of biotech products. “Before today, I had concerns about biotech herbicide tolerant crops,” says Jun. “After meeting Kyle and hearing his explanation, my concerns have been resolved. Korean consumers distrust biotechnology because they don’t understand it. Now I have a better understanding, I am willing to eat biotech corn and I’m willing to tell others it’s safe.”
ICPB is an active member of the Council, a private, non-profit organization that works to develop exports in more than 50 countries from 10 worldwide offices and its Washington, D.C., headquarters.
Upon their return to Korea, the Council hopes that the team members will share their observations and experiences with their readers in Korea.
The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB), works to develop and defend markets, fund research, and provide education about corn and corn products. The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is a membership organization lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its 7,800 farmer members. Both organizations work on the joint mission to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability.