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Crop Biotech Update

BIO Statement on USDA Announcement on Alfalfa EIS and Coexistence Issue

December 23, 2010

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the final environmental statement (EIS) for genetically modified (GM) alfalfa, commonly known as Roundup Ready (RR) alfalfa. The EIS evaluates the possible effects on the environment after deregulating GM alfalfa with resistance to glyphosate.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also called for a dialogue among stakeholders to talk about coexistence solutions. Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) president and executive officer Jim Greenwood responded on the issue: "Our agriculture regulatory system provides for the thorough and science-based review of agricultural biotechnology products, and has enabled these products to come to market and provide our nation's farmers with the tools to grow crops more sustainably. But our regulatory system has become hindered by legal challenges, and farmers are ultimately the ones who pay the price. We are more than ready to sit down with the Secretary and other stakeholder groups to discuss these issues."

"One thing we know for sure is that farmers already practice coexistence, and have been doing so successfully for decades. Biotech crops (grown on 154 million acres of U.S. land) and organic crops (grown on 2.5 million acres of U.S. land) play an important role in providing healthful foods and in helping farmers provide for a growing population and meet the diverse needs of consumers.

For more information, read the press release at http://bio.org/news/pressreleases/newsitem.asp?id=2010_1217_02.