In time for this year's harvest, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) has updated its database of grain handlers accepting biotech corn approved in the United States, but not yet approved for import into the European Union (EU). Beginning today, growers can access the updated database on ASTA's Web site at www.amseed.org.

"The feedback from users has been positive," says ASTA Executive Vice President Dean Urmston. "Since the database was posted in 1999, there have been over 17,000 hits to the site. More than 2,000 facilities nationwide have participated in the database."

Grain handlers throughout the United States were interviewed in July 1999 and again this August to determine their grain handling policies. Growers can easily use the database to search for local grain handlers. By simply typing in a zip code and citing a specific distance, the database locates facilities in the requested area. Growers who do not have access to the Internet will be able to access information in the database from most seed company representatives.

Additional grain handlers will accept all U.S.-approved biotech corn, but they may not be listed on the ASTA database. Growers are reminded to contact locations prior to delivery to determine if there are any special handling requirements and to confirm that the facility is accepting EU non-approved biotech corn.

"There is a domestic market for U.S.-approved biotech corn and this database provides a simple way for growers to find a local grain outlet," says Lynn Jensen, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and corn grower.

More than 70 percent of annual U.S. corn production is used domestically and the vast majority of the remainder is available for export. For the 2000 crop season, about 97 percent of U.S. corn has been accepted for export into key world markets. However, some newer biotech corn varieties have yet to receive EU import approval.

For a list of specific biotech hybrids that have not yet been approved for export to the European Union, consult the "Know Before You Grow" section of NCGA's Web site at www.ncga.com.

ASTA has worked with a number of seed companies to create and update the database. They include Aventis, Garst, Monsanto, Mycogen, Novartis and Pioneer Hi-Bred International. In addition, the NCGA, U.S. Grains Council and Corn Refiners Association have formally endorsed the project. Links to the database are on these company and organization web sites.

Founded in 1883, ASTA, located in Washington, DC, is one of the oldest trade organizations in the United States. Its membership consists of about 900 companies involved in seed production and distribution, plant breeding, and related industries in North America. As an authority on plant germplasm, ASTA advocates science and policy issues of industry importance. Its mission is to enhance the development and free movement of quality seed worldwide.