Source: Land O’Lakes Cooperative
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has are received a letter signed by 75 Members of Congress urging USDA to allow limited planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa. The bipartisan group supports action by USDA that would allow farmers to plant seed that’s being held in inventory while the Department completes an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) related to the product. Among the co-signers were 27 members of the House Agriculture Committee, including both the ranking majority and minority members.
The letter was supported by a coalition of agriculture groups that have encouraged timely completion of the EIS process on this biotech alfalfa variety. The groups include the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC), the National Milk Producers Federation and the American Farm Bureau Federation. Land O’Lakes also supported the letter. The cooperative’s subsidiary Forage Genetics International developed Roundup Ready alfalfa in conjunction with Monsanto.
The letter comes on the heels of a recent Supreme Court ruling that found a lower court was in error when it placed a nationwide ban on the planting of genetically engineered alfalfa seeds. A draft EIS, developed by USDA, found “no significant impact on the human environment due to granting non-regulated status to Roundup Ready alfalfa.”
The letter comes at a pivotal time, as the fall 2010 planting season approaches. “By taking the requested action now, USDA can provide producers with certainty as they plan for the fall planting season and beyond,” says NCFC president Chuck Conner.