Monsanto Company said today that it would appeal a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco which would impact limited late-season and isolated planting of sugar beet seedlings, or stecklings, that was authorized in September under permits issued by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The Court’s ruling does not affect the 2010 Roundup Ready sugar beet seed crop which had been planted earlier in the year prior to the September permits. Moreover, the decision will have little impact on the sugar beet crop that farmers anticipate planting in 2011. Stecklings produced in 2010 would supply seed for root crop growers in the 2012 season.
“With due respect, we believe the court’s action overlooked the factual evidence presented that no harm would be caused by these plantings, and is plainly inconsistent with the established law as recently announced by the U.S. Supreme Court,” said David Snively, general counsel for Monsanto. “We intend to seek an immediate stay of this ruling and appeal to the Court of Appeals.”
Planting of the stecklings caused no harm to plaintiffs and APHIS’s granting of the permits was both a lawful and measured action supported by both past APHIS practice and established procedures.
“The issues that will be appealed are important to all US farmers who choose to plant biotech crops,” Snively added. “We will spare no effort in challenging this ruling on the basis of flawed legal procedure and lack of consideration of important evidence.”
Roundup Ready sugar beets have been planted in North America for the past four years. After careful review, USDA issued permits for this additional seed production in accordance with the June, 2010 Supreme Court ruling that clearly authorizes such actions. The District Court’s decision would impose unnecessary costs on the seed producers when there has been no demonstrated harm to plaintiffs or risk to the environment associated with the seed production in the multiple years that the crop has been successfully planted and harvested.
More than 1 million acres of Roundup Ready sugar beet varieties have been planted in 10 U.S. states and in two Canadian provinces. In North America, roughly 95 percent of the 2010 sugar beet acreage was safely planted with Roundup Ready varieties. Sugar beet growers have confirmed that Roundup Ready sugar beets reduce impacts on the environment and make their operations more efficient and productive. Alternative technologies require more applications of pesticides, with greater impacts on the environment and lower productivity on farms.