Genuity® Roundup Ready® sugarbeets were introduced to farmers during the 2008-2009 crop season. Farmers across the U.S. and Canada used the technology on their farms, creating the fastest adoption of any biotech crop to date.
However, on January 21, 2008, some Monsanto opponents initiated a legal action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging the deregulation of Roundup Ready sugarbeets by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White ruled the USDA will have to complete an Environmental Impact Statement for Roundup Ready sugarbeets, but this ruling focused on the process used by the USDA in deregulating Genuity® Roundup Ready® sugarbeets. It in no way questioned the safety or benefits of Genuity® Roundup Ready® sugarbeets.
Sugarbeet growers have confirmed Genuity® Roundup Ready® sugarbeets reduce impacts on the environment and make them more efficient and productive. Alternative technologies require more applications of pesticides, with greater impacts on the environment and lower productivity on farms. This is why more than 1 million acres of Genuity® Roundup Ready® sugarbeet varieties have been planted in 10 U.S. states, and Canadian growers have planted more than 37,000 acres in two provinces.
The plaintiffs then filed a motion on Jan. 21, 2010, for a preliminary injunction against further planting, cultivation, processing, or other use of Genuity® Roundup Ready® sugarbeets until an EIS is completed. However, on March 16, 2010, Judge White denied this request, allowing farmers to continue to plant Roundup Ready sugarbeets this season. With Judge White’s order of August 13, 2010, harvest and processing of Roundup Ready sugarbeet and sugarbeet seed crops planted before August 13, 2010 are not affected and may proceed without interference. The Court’s decision vacates the deregulation of Roundup Ready sugarbeets and returns the product to the USDA for appropriate action for future plantings.