Concern over what corn varieties are approved for the European Union (EU) have quieted, at least for now.

ConAgra, in a joint marketing agreement with Monsanto, recently announced it will identity preserve and accept corn not approved for EU export for no additional fee. The corn will be used elsewhere, including the domestic market that consumes 80% of U.S. corn production.

Unfortunately, the EU now purchases very little corn from the U.S. USDA figures show U.S. corn exports to the EU went from 3.1 million metric tons in 1994-1995 to a current 137,000 metric tons for 10 months in 1998-1999. EU exports dropped from 5% of U.S. total exports to just 0.36% of the current year's total corn exports.

Soybean growers dodged the EU approval concerns because seed companies withheld sales of soybean varieties not approved for EU export.