October 10 -18, 2011; Iowa and Washington, DC.
Contact: Washington Foreign Press Center Media Relations Officers Saul Hernandez and Andrew Lewis.
Telephone: Saul Hernandez - 202-504-6327, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Andrew Lewis - 202-504-6321, email: email@example.com
The Foreign Press Center hosted 27 international print, radio and Internet journalists on a reporting tour to Des Moines, Iowa, and the Washington, DC area to educate them on America's role in global food security. Participants explored how food gets from the field to the plate. The tour also gave the journalists a chance to hear a range of opinions about genetically engineered and genetically modified crops, and to interview officials about U.S. food security efforts.
Journalists attended the World Food Prize Events, including the 25th laureate ceremony in the Iowa State Capitol to honor former President of Ghana John Agyekum Kufuor and former President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for their efforts to alleviate hunger and poverty in their countries. Policymakers at the Department of State, USAID, FDA, and USDA (APHIS) briefed media from a U.S. policy perspective, explaining U.S. global food security initiatives, including the “Feed the Future” program. Meetings with the International Food Policy Research Institute, the UMd/FDA/Waters Corporation International Food Safety Training Lab, and the Iowa State University Seed Science Center gave journalists a working knowledge of the technology involved keeping food safe, and producing new seed stock.
A tour of Pioneer Hi-Bred facilities and interviews with company executives illustrated how biotechnology is being used to produce more productive food crops, as well as the advantages and challenges of introducing GM crops to farmers in developing countries.
The media also visited replicas of historical farms, a production farm using genetically modified corn in Iowa, and the largest organic vegetable farm in Maryland to see the evolution of food production methods in the United States.