(Posted Fri. May 10th, 2013)
May 10: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement today that it will prepare a full environmental impact statement regarding certain herbicide-resistant crops is bad news for corn farmers, the National Corn Growers Association said.
“NCGA is extremely disappointed in USDA’s decision to require a full environmental impact statement for a much-needed corn biotechnology trait,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “Particularly troubling in today’s decision was that this trait has languished in USDA’s regulatory system for nearly four years. Despite this longer-than-normal review, USDA failed to provide any new scientific justification for requiring a full EIS versus the normal environmental assessment.”
Growers need new herbicide products in corn, soy and cotton to manage weed pressure and limit their environmental footprint while helping ensure we can meet all needs for food, feed and fuel, Johnson said. This is why NCGA has promoted weed resistance management among corn farmers, and rotating herbicide products are central to avoid resistance. Without new tools, growers will continue to be limited in weed control options.
“NCGA has long supported our nation’s science-based regulatory system, which allows growers access to new tools and technology in a timely and predictable way. In recent years, USDA has taken steps to streamline the system and increase predictability,” Johnson added. “However today’s announcement is a major setback that only exacerbates the delays and keeps important technology from U.S. growers.”
U.S. agriculture has always been the world leader in science-based regulations and technology adoption. This has given corn farmers a production advantage over competing countries. With today’s announcement, Johnson said, U.S. growers will fall behind farmers in Canada and Brazil, since both of these governments are poised to approve this trait later this year.