Risk of Forcing an Environmental Impact Study on Monsanto and Dow

Prairie Gleanings

The U.S. needs to wake up and embrace their position as a global leader in agriculture and biotechnology.

Published on: May 16, 2013

A year ago, I was at a crop technology media event.

Honestly, I can’t remember if it was a Dow AgroSciences or Monsanto event. I Tweeted about the expected release of either 2,4-D- or dicamba-tolerant soybeans.

The first response was from a central Illinois farmer. He said, “Tell them to hurry up. We need this technology now!”

Last week the USDA ordered an Environmental Impact Study be conducted on both of these technologies. My colleague Mindy Ward, Missouri Ruralist editor, notes Monsanto was subjected to an EIS with Roundup Ready sugarbeets. It took 15 months to complete.

Dows Enlist system combines glyphosate and 2,4-D tolerance in one package. The same crop-tolerance biotechnology was not integrated in the plants in the foreground.
Dow's Enlist system combines glyphosate and 2,4-D tolerance in one package. The same crop-tolerance biotechnology was not integrated in the plants in the foreground.

Dow’s Enlist soybeans (brand name for 2,4-D tolerance) and Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans (brand name for dicamba tolerance) have already been approved in Canada.

This year, Monsanto launched Intacta RR2 Pro soybean products commercially in Brazil. This is the company’s first line of biotechnology products developed specifically for a market outside of the U.S. Intacta soybeans are glyphosate tolerant and genetically engineered to protect against South American insects.

The world is waking up and taking note of the looming food crisis. As foreign countries strive to produce more with less, America seems content with letting the boutique food agenda drive policy.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for local, organic, non-GMO … take your pick … foods. But, don’t kid yourself; these systems will not feed the world.

China doesn’t want the best-looking organic soybeans that sprouted from a scenic hillside. They need metric tons of soybeans shipped in at the lowest price.

My point is this: if the U.S. doesn’t embrace its position as a premier global supplier of food, we will lose favor with the most innovative biotechnology companies on the globe. We cannot give these companies a reason to avoid innovation in the U.S. marketplace.