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article imageSupreme court rules in favor of Monsanto GM crop

By Vilma Cajigas     Jun 21, 2010 in Environment
The US Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s order which prohibited the planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa in a 7-1 ruling on Monday.
A new ruling by the Supreme Court will allow Monsanto, a leader in agricultural biotechnology, to sell genetically modified seeds before safety tests are completed.
“This Supreme Court ruling is important for every American farmer, not just alfalfa growers,” said Monsanto’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel David F. Snively “All growers can rely on the expertise of USDA, and trust that future challenges to biotech approvals must now be based on scientific facts, not speculation.”
The case will now be returned to the lower court with orders authorizing USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to establish a course of action allowing farmers to commence planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa.
“We have Roundup Ready alfalfa seed ready to deliver and await USDA guidance on its release,” said lead for Monsanto’s Alfalfa interest Steve Walker. “Our goal is to have everything in place for growers to plant in fall 2010.”
Before the lower court’s imposed the ban in 2007, there were approximately 5,500 farmers growing Roundup Ready alfalfa across more than 220,000 acres. Today there are 23 million acres of alfalfa grown annually, making it the fourth largest crop in the US.
Genetically modified crops contain a bacterial gene making them resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide Roundup. This allows farmers to spray the fields without risking damage to the crops.
In a New York Times report,
“Environmental groups and others had said that the foreign gene might spread to organic or conventional nongenetically engineered crops, hurting sales of organic farmers or exports to countries like Japan that did not want genetically engineered varieties."
Another environmental concern is weeds becoming unaffected to herbicides due to an extensive use of Roundup.
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