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Iowa City IA 52242
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Release: Aug. 27, 2001

ISU professor to speak on international implications of genetically modified organisms Sept. 6

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council kicks off another year of programming with a lecture on "The International Implications to Iowa's Agricultural Sector of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)" by Neil E. Harl, a professor of agricultural economics at Iowa State University. The event is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 6 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton Street, Iowa City.

Harl will focus on the current state of genetic modification of foods and the degree of consumer acceptance, worldwide. Harl believes that the future of genetic modification of foodstuffs depends upon three key economic relationships: the demand for genetically modified and non-genetically modified foods (which is in the hands of consumers); the supply of genetically modified and non-genetically modified foods (which is in the hands of farmers as they make seed selection decisions); and the cost of segregation of crops.

Harl, a member of the USDA Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology, served on the first Biotechnology Committee of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges from 1981 to 1986. He is the Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and professor of economics at Iowa State. He is a 1961 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law and earned the Ph.D in economics from Iowa State.

Harl is particularly concerned about pollen drift and "gene flow" as genetically modified crops are commingled with non-genetically modified versions of the same crop and as pollen drift occurs. The cost and practicality of keeping the crops separate promises to be a major problem in areas undertaking to produce both genetically modified and non-genetically modified crops. He is the lead author of a heavily used website on the StarLink controversy.

Because of consumer resistance to the use of genetically modified food ingredients, U.S. exports of corn and soybeans have been adversely impacted in Europe and in Asia, particularly in Japan and South Korea, Harl says.

The cost is $6 for members and $7 for non-members, and the deadline to register for the event is noon Friday, Aug. 31. New Pioneer Co-op Deli will cater the event. Checks may be written to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and mailed to ICFRC, 120 International Center, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802. Reservations may not be made by phone but last minute adjustments may be made. For more information, call ICFRC Executive Director Tom Baldridge at 335-0351.

This event is sponsored by the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council with additional support from UI International Programs, Joe Brisben, Securities Corporation of Iowa and New Pioneer Co-op.

For those unable to attend, WSUI-AM (910) will carry this program Friday, Sept. 7, following the noon news.

The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council is a non-profit association of community and university people interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy, world affairs and current global issues impacting world societies. The group provides members with the opportunity to hear more than 35 experts per year who visit the UI campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

Meetings are scheduled from August to June to take advantage of these speakers and are held at noon or in the evening to allow the widest possible participation from the business community, other professionals, the community at large and students, faculty and staff from the university. Meetings are scheduled at catered luncheons, as dinners or as evening desserts.

ICFRC is part of International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.