Hollow biotech alfalfa court challenge waste of time, money

Get over it Center for Food Safety; Sierra Club, National Family Farm Coalition, Cornucopia Institute, Beyond Pesticides, Organic Consumer Association and all other so-called “non-profit consumer watchdog groups.”

You have lost another biotechnology battle.

U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California can agree with you all day long that the USDA’s approval of genetically engineered alfalfa is “a threat to farmers’ livelihoods and a risk to the environment,” as you say in your “news release.”

Fact is Roundup Ready alfalfa has taken the Western alfalfa market by storm.

By this spring -- just two years after it was introduced -- an estimated 200,000 of California’s 1.1 million acres of alfalfa will be Roundup-resistant varieties.

One judge may buy your philosophical hogwash. Now go find a gullible judge who will order the destruction of 200,000 acres of alfalfa just because you don’t like the process used to approve its commercial use.

According to the news release issued by the Center for Food Safety the judge’s decision MAY (my emphasis) prevent this season’s sales and planting of Monsanto’s GE alfalfa and future submissions of other GE crops for commercial deregulation.

“This is a major victory for farmers and the environment,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety. “This is another nail in the coffin for USDA’s hands-off approach to regulations on these risky engineered crops,” said Will Rostov, senior attorney of The Center for Food Safety.

Great quotes no doubt picked up by newspapers nationwide, but the truth is it is all balderdash. The full story is biotech crops are continuing to grow in acreage worldwide. Herbicide-resistant alfalfa may be the biggest agricultural biotech success story yet. In just two years, it has gained almost a 25 percent of the California alfalfa market, the largest and most progressive alfalfa industry in the nation.

It has been rapidly accepted not because growers are thrilled to pay the considerable extra cost for the technology, but because it produces more alfalfa per acre using fewer or less crop-stunting herbicides to control weeds.

It works because the feed value of the herbicide-resistant hay is better than conventional hay. Growers are also expecting longer stand life from a Round Ready variety due to fewer weeds, again a major cost savings.

According to Jim Munsch, an organic livestock producer and an “advanced-degreed expert” who represents The Cornucopia Institute. “This judgment recognizes that the livelihood of farmers was not properly considered by the USDA when it approved the introduction of genetically engineered Roundup Ready alfalfa into the environment."

To the contrary Mr. Munsch, USDA, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency considered the farmer along with the environment when it approved the planting of herbicide-resistant alfalfa after exhaustive studies.

Fortunately, the government listened to reason rather than to a group of anti-capitalists who have little interest in the well being of American farmers or America’s food supply.

Like we said, get over it and go find another issue that will draw millions into your “non-profit watchdog” organizations. On agricultural biotechnology, you have lost in the court of public acceptance.

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