Monday, December 6, 2010

Beet Comment Deadline ends today

Darrington beets, Burley, Idaho, Jake Putnam photo

Round-up Ready Beet Comment Period ends Today

Washington--The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting comments on the environmental assessment of the use of Roundup Ready sugar beet seed on an interim basis for the 2011 growing season.

The deadline for submitting comments is today.

The USDA approved Roundup Ready sugar beets back in 2005 and have been widely used since then. Farmers almost exclusively use Roundup in their beet operations and planted 95 percent of all sugar beet acreage in a 10-state area, including Idaho. The use of the seed eliminates almost all field labor required to pull weeds from beet fields.

A lawsuit brought by the Center for Food Safety earlier this year that voided the original USDA approval for the seed. According to industry officials, the court ruling took away farmers' choice to use the technology, even though there's never been proof of harming the environment.

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published a draft environmental assessment Nov. 4 providing analysis of environmental impacts associated with action plans under consideration.

The draft environmental assessment examines the alternatives that USDA reviewed to give farmers the choice to plant Roundup Ready sugar beets until the full environmental impact statement is completed.

Farmers may develop a comment and get information on how to submit it at

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