Georgia Vegetable Marketing Order Passes

The Georgia Vegetable Commission announced the passage of a vegetable marketing order, which passed by an 80-percent margin.

The marketing order assesses growers with 50 acres or more of combined annual production of squash, cabbage, leafy greens, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, beans, cantaloupes at one cent per marketing unit. It is estimated the marketing order will generate $250,000 to $400,000 in funds from the assessment on vegetables grown in Georgia. Under Georgia law these funds can only be used for commodity promotion, education or research.

The commission has committed that at least 75 percent of the funds collected from this order will be used for vegetable research.

The marketing order was effective as of April 1, 2008.

Cibus Establishes New Leadership

Cibus LLC, a plant trait development technology company, has named LaDon Johnson as its chief financial officer as well as president of the newly launched Cibus International, headquartered in the Netherlands. Prior to Cibus, Johnson established Johnson Consulting in the United States and Belgium, with recent projects including biofuels transactions, customer development work for a genetic specialty business and seed business mergers. He previously served as managing director and chief financial officer at Advanta and served as chief financial officer for SeedWorks, Inc. He has also held a variety of executive-level positions at Garst Seed Company.

Cibus’ proprietary gene conversion technology, RTDS, enables seed producers to develop plants that are quicker to market with less regulatory expense. RTDS technology is a nontransgenic approach for providing plant improvements as compared to classical genetic transformation, a process leading to GM products. Cibus partners include BASF, Valent U.S.A. Corporation and The National Sorghum Producers.

APHIS Launches Pilot Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has introduced a pilot of the biotechnology quality management system. The system is part of continued efforts to enhance compliance with regulatory requirements for field trials and movements of certain genetically engineered organisms. APHIS has accepted five volunteer participants into the pilot project: Bayer CropScience, BASF Plant Science, J.R. Simplot Plant Science, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The participants will develop, implement and maintain a quality management system within their organization to proactively manage the movement and field release of regulated genetically engineered organisms. As part of the process, they will work to identify vulnerabilities in their processes for working with genetically engineered organisms, develop or revise standard operating procedures that address vulnerabilities, properly train personnel on the standard operating procedures, and undergo a third-party audit to determine effectiveness of their quality management system. The pilot project will also test the feasibility of the system’s audit standard and accompanying guidelines, available at www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/news_bqms.shtml.