In January, the USDA announced they would deregulate genetically modified alfalfa, allowing it to be planted without restriction. Just one week later, genetically modified sugar beets were deregulated as well.
The USDA’s move to completely deregulate the planting of genetically modified alfalfa and sugar beets came as a shock to the organic community, which has voiced continued concern over the issue. Farmers in the Pacific Northwest believe the continued production of GMO crops in the region could lead to cross-pollination, a dire scenario in which many organic farmers would loose their certifications to grow organic food.
Tom Vilsack, the U.S. secretary of Agriculture took this into account in December when he said “We have an obligation to carefully consider the USDA’s 2,300 page EIS, which acknowledges the potential of cross-fertilization to non-GE alfalfa from GE alfalfa, a significant concern for farmers who produce for non-GE markets at home and abroad.”
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