BIO Statement on USDA Announcement on Alfalfa EIS and Coexistence Issue

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Friday, December 17, 2010) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the availability of the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa that evaluates the potential environmental effects of deregulating alfalfa engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. (This GE alfalfa is commonly referred to as Roundup Ready or “RR” alfalfa.)

The Secretary of Agriculture also called for a dialogue among stakeholders to discuss coexistence solutions.

Jim Greenwood, president and chief executive officer for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response to the announcement:

“We welcome USDA’s efforts to move forward on this issue. 

“Our agriculture regulatory system provides for the thorough and science-based review of agricultural biotechnology products, and has enabled these products to come to market and provide our nation’s farmers with the tools to grow crops more sustainably.

“But our regulatory system has become hindered by legal challenges, and farmers are ultimately the ones who pay the price.  We are more than ready to sit down with the Secretary and other stakeholder groups to discuss these issues.

“One thing we know for sure is that farmers already practice coexistence, and have been doing so successfully for decades.  Biotech crops (grown on 154 million acres of U.S. land) and organic crops (grown on 2.5 million acres of U.S. land) play an important role in providing healthful foods and in helping farmers provide for a growing population and meet the diverse needs of consumers.

“Workable agriculture policy must be science-based and inclusive – rather than exclusive – of all the farming practices that help to provide the food, fuel and fiber for our world.”

*More Information on coexistence practices is posted at


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