Round- up Ready Alfalfa Approved by USDA
Washington-In a surprise move late Thursday, The U.S. Department of Agriculture granted non-regulated status for alfalfa.
The decision comes as a crushing blow to radical environmental groups because the decision came with no-strings attached. The groups had successfully blocked the sale of the genetically engineered alfalfa for nearly four years and the group’s success had bolstered their confidence in the war against GMO products.
Growers fear that the decision could skyrocket GE seed prices. But developers Monsanto and Forage Genetics say alfalfa will come with the same tech fee charged when the seeds were banned four years ago. That fee should be about $125 per bag for the intermountain area.
The President of the Forage Genetics, Mark McCaslin, says there’s plenty of seed available for farmers when they start spring planting just two months away..
Farmers plant more than 20 million acres of alfalfa each year in the U.S. and iIt’s the fourth largest crop in the nation. GE alfalfa joins three other major crops including 93 percent of the U.S. soybean crop, 86 percent of the corn crop and 93 percent of cotton crop. No word yet on the pending sugar beet crop of 2011.