The USDA is asking for nominations of qualified persons to serve as members of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21). This committee will provide information and advice on issues related to agricultural biotechnology. Written nominations must be received by fax or postmarked on or before April 17, 2011.

“This committee will help to provide USDA with recommendations on practical measures and tools that can be developed to facilitate the coexistence of production utilizing agricultural biotechnology with other production methods,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

This discretionary committee, which was originally established in 2003 and recently renewed by Vilsack, is composed of 20 to 25 members and will include up to seven ex officio members from federal and/or state government agencies outside of USDA. Under its charter, the AC21 helps USDA to maintain an intensive and broad-based dialogue to explore and understand the wide array of issues related to agricultural biotechnology.

Members will be selected in order to achieve a broad representation of viewpoints to address effectively USDA biotechnology policy issues under consideration. Members shall serve for terms of up to two years, and may be reappointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. No member may serve more than six consecutive years on the AC21.

Nominations for membership must be submitted in writing and provide the appropriate background documents as described in the Federal Register. All nomination materials should be sent to Michael Schechtman, Designated Federal Official, Office of the Secretary, USDA, 202B Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250. Forms may also be submitted by fax to (202) 690-4265, if they are followed by written copies.