Farm groups send White House letter on coexistence

By Stewart Doan

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



Washington, Jan. 5 - The American Farm Bureau Federation, groups representing cotton, rice, soybean, and wheat growers, and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives registered their “strong” objection to USDA's use of the final environmental impact statement for Roundup Ready (RR) alfalfa to establish “far-reaching policy changes” for agricultural “coexistence” in a letter Wednesday to John Holdren, President Obama's science adviser and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Globally Positioned Agriculture

In their letter, the ag groups tell Holdren these policy changes could “adversely impact all producers of biotech crops, as well as the integrity of the American agriculture system.”

Noting that USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service concluded that RR alfalfa does not pose a plant pest risk, the groups accuse the Department of using motives beyond science to impose “unprecedented” conditions on alfalfa growers that they say may include isolation distances and geographic planting restrictions.

Industry sources tell Agri-Pulse that Holdren and other executive branch officials will receive a briefing Friday on USDA's controversial process for deregulating the glyphosate-tolerant alfalfa from USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.

To read the letter to Holdren, go to: http://agri-pulse.com/uploaded/Alfalfa_Letter_to_Holdren_5Jan11.pdf

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