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USDA Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence

The purpose of the Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence, held on March 12-13, 2015, was to advance an understanding of agricultural coexistence – the concurrent cultivation of conventional, organic, identity preserved (IP), and genetically engineered (GE) crops consistent with farmer choices and consumer preferences – and discuss opportunities for making coexistence more achievable for all stakeholders.

This workshop provides an opportunity for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to learn from stakeholders representing a wide range of interests with respect to agricultural coexistence and to build upon USDA’s leadership and outreach efforts to promote coexistence.  The workshop was meant to achieve these aims by providing a forum for stakeholders to discuss current and potential USDA responses to the recommendations offered in November 2012 by USDA’s Advisory Committee of Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21). 

The workshop was organized around three sessions: 1) the current state of affairs of coexistence; 2) knowledge gaps, challenges, and USDA’s responses so far to the AC21 recommendations; and 3) additional steps USDA is considering to respond to the challenges. 

During the workshop, participants representing industry, farmers, government, and academia had the chance to expand their understanding of coexistence-related issues and raise questions, voice concerns, and share their expertise and insights about addressing the challenges of coexistence.  The public is offered an opportunity to listen to or watch the workshop remotely and submit comments, questions, and proposals after the event.  Details for accessing a webcast recording of the workshop and submitting comments are provided below. 

The workshop was held with the cooperation and support of North Carolina State University’s Genetic Engineering and Society (GES) Center.  The GES program is unique example of engaged scholarship that serves as a regional, national, and international hub of interdisciplinary, research analysis and inclusive dialogue surrounding opportunities and challenges associated with genetic engineering and society.   


Day 1 / USDA  Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence

Day 2 / USDA  Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence





Several new USDA draft proposals and products concerning coexistence will also be made available for public review on the Agricultural Coexistence Web page, including resources for coexistence communication and planning, education on crop-specific stewardship practices and agricultural contracting, and other information on agricultural production and associated governmental programs, as well as earlier reports of the AC21.  Also available is information about a new pilot program in which entities that submit a petition to USDA for a determination of nonregulated status for certain regulated articles under 7 CFR part 340 may voluntarily submit a conflict analysis and coexistence plan to advance agricultural coexistence strategies. 

Public Comment
We invite you to submit any comments you have, whether they be feedback, ideas, or concerns, on any of the topics discussed during the workshop by April 10, 2015, using the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0047.

Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery:
Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS–2013–0047, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238.


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