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U.S. District Court ruling suspends planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa

Agriculture.com Staff 05/03/2007 @ 3:56pm

A U.S. District Court has ruled that farmers will not be able to resume planting Roundup Ready alfalfa until the USDA completes an environmental impact statement. Roundup Ready alfalfa that was planted by March 30, 2007, can still be grown, harvested and sold as forage.

The injunction was issued by the court following a lawsuit brought by the Center for Food Safety and others against the USDA as Geertson Seed Farms, Inc. et. al v. Mike Johanns, et. al.

In a company release, Monsanto says it petitioned the court to become a party in the case to defend grower choice to use the technology. The company is reviewing its options, including the possibility of an appeal of the court’s decision. Monsanto licenses its traits for Roundup Ready alfalfa to Forage Genetics International who sells Roundup Ready alfalfa seed.

One of the plaintiffs' claims against Roundup Ready alfalfa was that it would cross-pollinate with organic alfalfa. Monsanto and Forage Genetics International have shown that with proper stewardship and planting the two types of cropping systems can successfully coexist, stated Monsanto officials. Don Cameron, a Helm, California, farmer grows a number of organic and biotech crops including organic and Roundup Ready alfalfa.

"Proper stewardship makes it possible to grow both organic and biotech crops," he says. "We've successfully accomplished this for nearly a decade on our operation and plan to continue."

"The last decade has shown that biotech and organic crops have successfully co-existed," says Jerry Steiner, executive vice president for Monsanto. "We support a farmer's right to choose biotechnology, organic or conventional crops with the proper stewardship practices that make coexistence feasible. We have heard from farmers across the country who are disappointed they can't access this technology."

A U.S. District Court has ruled that farmers will not be able to resume planting Roundup Ready alfalfa until the USDA completes an environmental impact statement. Roundup Ready alfalfa that was planted by March 30, 2007, can still be grown, harvested and sold as forage.

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