USDA'S ADVISORY Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture will hold its first meeting June 16-17 in Washington.

The AC21, as USDA is calling it, includes 18 members representing the biotechnology industry, the seed industry, international plant genetics research, farmers, food manufacturers, commodity processors and shippers, environmental and consumer groups, along with academic researchers including a bioethicist.

The committee will develop an approach to examine the impacts of agricultural biotechnology on American agriculture over the next five to 10 years. There also will be preliminary presentations and introductory discussions on two sub-areas of the committee's work: new biotechnology-derived non-food uses of row crops; and impacts of biotechnology throughout the entire food production and distribution system.

On June 16, if time permits, oral presentations will be made by members of the public. Individuals wishing to make such statements should contact Michael Schechtman at 202-720-3817 or mschechtman@ars.usda.gov at least three business days before the meeting.