USDA Deregulates Glyphosate Tolerant Alfalfa

Decision could make producers more efficient, profitable.

Published on: Feb 11, 2011

Alfalfa growers have new options available to them, now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has deregulated glyphosate tolerant alfalfa, specifically known as events J101 and J163. Among those cheering the decision are the National Corn Growers Association.

"Farmers need access to technology so that they can choose the option that is best for their farm," says NCGA Chairman Darrin Ihnen. "Biotechnology can improve a farm's efficiency and decrease the amount of chemical needed for that crop. We need choice to raise more food, feed, fiber and fuel for the world's growing needs."

 "A clean, full deregulation is the best decision for producers and lets farmers plant the kind of alfalfa they choose this spring," added Jim Zimmerman, vice chairman of NCGA's Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team and a grower from Rosendale, Wisconsin.

Monsanto is one company that has been waiting in the wings for this news. The company has Genuity Roundup Ready alfalfa ready for sale and available for spring planting.

"This is great news for farmers who have been waiting for the green light to plant Roundup Ready alfalfa," says Steve Welker, alfalfa commercial lead at Monsanto. "USDA's action gives farmers the choice to enjoy the benefits of this product, including superior crop safety and high-quality yield opportunity."

Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa was actually commercialized in 2005 when more than 5,000 farmers planted Roundup Ready alfalfa on 250,000 acres. Then a court ruling finding in favor of the USDA administrative process halted sales and planting.

 "The overwhelming positive feedback from the farmers who first planted Roundup Ready alfalfa and ongoing grower surveys indicate significant farmer interest in this product," Welker says.