Posted By: CGI_admin [Send E-Mail]
Date: Sunday, 12-May-2013 12:40:39
Some good news for a change….
Back in early 2012, the US Department of Agriculture seemed on the verge of approving new genetically modified crops from agrichemical giants Monsanto and Dow. The two agrichemical giants were pushing new corn and soy varieties that would respond to the ever-expanding problem of herbicide-tolerant superweeds by bringing more-toxic herbicides into the mix—and likely ramping up the resistance problem, as I explained at length in a post at the time.
Even some mainstream ag scientists were alarmed at the coming escalation in the war against weeds. Scientists at Penn State—not exactly a hotbed of alternative ag thinking—delivered a damning analysis of the novel crops, which would engineered to withstand not only Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, but also the highly toxic old ones 2,4-D (Dow’s version) and Dicamba (Monsanto’s).
Yet in August, the USDA again signaled that approval would be imminent—and by the end of 2012, people who follow ag regulatory issues were telling me that the USDA would almost certainly approve the crops over Christmas break, timing the decision in an effort to minimize the inevitable uproar.
But then Christmas came and went with no announcement—leading Dow to issue a January press statement about how the unexpected delay meant it could not sell its new product to farmers for the 2013 growing season. Yet the company remained confident about the prospects for approval in time for planting in 2014—it told the trade journal Delta Farm Press it “expects all approvals will be in place for sale in late 2013,” in time for a its novels seeds to be used over a “broad geography” in 2014.
But on Friday, the USDA essentially trampled on those expectations—it announced it was delaying approval of the crops until it could generate full environmental impact statements (known as EIS’s) on them. The move effectively means that the crops won’t be planted in fields next year, either, a Dow spokesperson told Bloomberg News.