Coexistence talks between GE, organic and other non-GE stakeholders didn’t end with USDA’s decision to allow unlimited, nationwide planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa as soon as this spring.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack credits the dialogue with identifying ways for USDA to preserve farmer choice and says he’s determined to keep the discussion going through the reestablishment of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture:
“We will be tasking that committee with specific questions with specific timelines to provide guidance to us on what practical measures and effective tools can be developed to further strengthen our capacity of production systems to be able to work together in similar geographic areas.”
Vilsack emphasizes that biotech advocates should not view the decision to fully deregulate alfalfa as precedent-setting:
“Each crop is different, and the circumstances and the determination of whether plant pest risks exist or not, may be different.”
USDA hopes to announce this week its next regulatory steps on amylase corn developed by Syngenta and on Roundup Ready sugar beets.