On Feb 4, 2011 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) authorized the spring planting of Genuity® Roundup Ready® sugar beets. Last year Monsanto Company and KWS SAAT AG petitioned USDA to act with interim measures so farmers could continue to grow Roundup Ready sugar beets while USDA completes an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
What are Genuity® Roundup Ready® Sugarbeets?
The Genuity® Roundup Ready® sugarbeet, developed by Monsanto and KWS, contains an in-plant tolerance to Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides.
Other technologies require more applications of pesticides, with greater impacts on the environment and lower productivity on farms but Genuity™ Roundup Ready® Sugarbeets can help reduce weed management costs while increasing farming efficiency, flexibility and profitability.
The benefits farmers across the U.S. and Canada experienced on their farms have driven the fastest adoption of any biotech crop to date. In 2010, more than 90 percent of the sugar beets grown in North America were Roundup Ready varieties and accounted for nearly half of the U.S. sugar supply.
What’s the deal with Genuity® Roundup Ready® Sugarbeets and the USDA?
On Jan. 21, 2008, the Center for Food Safety and other biotech opponents initiated a legal action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging the deregulation of Genuity® Roundup Ready® sugarbeets by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The court case concerned the administrative process of the USDA to deregulate the product, the safety and benefits of Genuity® Roundup Ready® Sugarbeets were not an issue.
The Result of the Court Case: The court ruled to void USDA's prior authorization of Roundup Ready sugar beets and required the USDA to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
What does the future hold for Genuity® Roundup Ready® Sugarbeets?
The USDA decision on Feb 4, 2011 allows for the planting of Genuity® Roundup Ready® Sugarbeets for spring 2011 with certain conditions. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will provide growers with specific guidelines for growing the crop which comply with the National Environmental Policy, the Plant Protection Act and the Administrative Procedures Act.
When the Environment Impact Statement is completed the USDA will decide whether to authorize future plantings of sugar beets without conditions.