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Cornucopia Institute: GM alfalfa threatens organic agriculture

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

The USDA's assessment approves of releasing a new genetically modified crop into the environment, despite the known risks this version of alfalfa poses to organic livestock agriculture. Public comments are being accepted until February 16, and The Cornucopia Institute asks to comment to the USDA. A broad coalition, composed of both organic and conventional farmers, is opposing Monsanto's RR Alfalfa and the USDA particularly needs to hear from those involved with organic agriculture. Alfalfa is the fourth most widely grown crop in the USA and a fundamental source of livestock forage.

This would be the first perennial crop to be approved for genetic modification and release. Alfalfa is open-pollinated by bees. With bees traveling, they can potentially spread the patented, foreign DNA to distant conventional and organic crops. The potential for biological contamination from a neighbor's field threatens the livelihood of organic farmers, dairies and other livestock producers. Buffer strips and other devices required with other GE crops are essentially useless. As a perennial, it is very likely that genetically engineered volunteers will escape from farm fields and/or be scattered along roadsides from harvest and transport equipment. Escaped or feral plants will live on for years producing GE pollen to contaminate non-GE alfalfa. 90 % of all the alfalfa seed sold in the US comes from 5 to 6 compact geographic areas ideal for growing the seed in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Yet the USDA fails to recommend significant isolation zones where the planting of GE alfalfa would be illegal, and help to protect the vital nature of uncontaminated alfalfa seedstock. 

The Cornucopia Institute
 


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