Biotech Updates

U.S. Congress Asks USDA Secretary to Allow GM Alfalfa Planting

July 23, 2010

Seventy five members of the U.S. Congress submitted a letter to USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking permission to allow farmers to plant Roundup Ready alfalfa (RRA) during the fall planting season of 2010.

The US Supreme Court lifted a nationwide ban on the planting of biotech alfalfa last June 21, 2010, however, it sent back the case to the District Court for action while waiting for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The letter noted that the USDA's draft EIS states that there is "no significant impact on the human environment due to granting non-regulated status to Roundup Ready alfalfa." A temporary deregulation would enable the growers to plant their stored RRA seeds while the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducts the environmental impact study. The farmers have already lost more than $250 million in revenue because they were not allowed to use up their stored RRA seeds during the EIS process, and there will be more losses if they are not allowed to plant the RRA seeds again in the fall planting season of 2010.

The press release is available at