Source: United States Senator for Indiana Todd Young
September 30, 2019
Senate provision threatens to cease production at AquaBounty Technologies in Albany and put Hoosiers out of work
MUNCIE, Ind. – In an op-ed for The Star Press, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) argues for protecting jobs and the production of genetically engineered salmon in Albany, Indiana.
Senator Young recently led a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee voicing concern over a provision in an agriculture appropriations bill that would prohibit the commercialization of genetically engineered salmon. If enacted, this provision would cause AquaBounty Technologies in Albany to have to cease production immediately and put Hoosiers out of work.
“The results would be this: 160,000 fish currently maturing in Albany would be euthanized. Dozens of Hoosiers would be out of a job. The operation would be moved to another country — likely China — which sees the incredible value in dominating agriculture innovation,” Senator Young writes. “If one legacy industry can manipulate Congress to unilaterally kill one innovative company, how free is our free market? I’m doing everything I can to keep this provision out of our funding bills to protect innovation and ensure the free market is allowed to operate.”
Read the full op-ed here and below.
The Star Press
Sen. Todd Young: Indiana salmon will show how free our free market is
Imagine you’ve finally done it. You’ve invented a new product that will change everything.
Your invention is more efficient and environmentally friendly than the products on the market today, most of which are made overseas. You’ve invested millions to make the product here, and you’ve already hired employees and started production. Your product will hit stores within months at a lower price than existing options.
Now imagine the federal government — for no discernable reason other than to protect the current market leaders — shuts you down.
That exact scenario is playing out right here in Delaware County, Indiana, and the halls of Congress.
A company called AquaBounty has created the world’s first bio-engineered salmon, and they are being produced at a facility in Albany, Ind. I visited this aquaculture facility earlier this year and saw firsthand this remarkable operation and the safeguards they have in place.
These salmon have been deemed as safe to eat and as nutritious as conventional farm-raised salmon, but require half as much food and grow twice as fast. This abundant source of protein comes at a perfect time. According to the United Nations, global food production needs to double in the next 30 years to feed our growing population.
America currently imports more than 80 percent of its salmon from other countries, but now Indiana is in an even better position to feed the world.
The salmon raised in Indiana were rigorously reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration for nearly 20 years and approved for sale in 2015. The Alaskan salmon industry wants to shut down competition, though, and has fought back.
They successfully delayed AquaBounty for three more years, until I helped remove the final regulatory hurdle earlier this year. Now, worried about a decreased market share, these special interests want to slip a regulation on AquaBounty into our farm spending bill that is usually reserved for prescription drugs.
The Wall Street Journal called this a “fishy” effort “to coddle Alaska’s Pacific salmon industry at the expense of consumers.”
The results would be this: 160,000 fish currently maturing in Albany would be euthanized.
Dozens of Hoosiers would be out of a job.
The operation would be moved to another country — likely China — which sees the incredible value in dominating agriculture innovation.
And the young dreamers and doers across America who are investing in ag technology will suddenly have to wonder whether their effort and investment is truly worth it.
If one legacy industry can manipulate Congress to unilaterally kill one innovative company, how free is our free market?
I’m doing everything I can to keep this provision out of our funding bills to protect innovation and ensure the free market is allowed to operate. But with powerful interests organizing this maneuver behind closed doors, there are no guarantees of success.
You’ve finally done it. Your product is poised to change everything. You’re on the right side of history. You just better hope you’re on the right side of Congress.
Todd Young is the senior United States senator from Indiana, serving since 2017.