USDA Releases EIS on RR Alfalfa

Public comment period will be held before USDA decides how to proceed.

Published on: Dec 17, 2010

USDA is making available the final environmental impact statement that evaluates the potential environmental effects of deregulating alfalfa genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, known commercially as Roundup. USDA has thoroughly analyzed the potential environmental impacts of the proposed alternatives and has listed two preferred options: deregulation and a combination of isolation distances and geographic restrictions on the production of GE alfalfa seed and, in some locations, hay. 

By listing both options as preferred, USDA has considered plant pest issues as well as broader environmental and economic issues related to the coexistence between genetically engineered, non-genetically engineered, and organic alfalfa production.

"Our goal is to recognize and consider the many concerns we have heard from all segments of agriculture," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "USDA will use this opportunity to begin a conversation on how to move forward and find strategies for strengthening coexistence."

Vilsack says it is important to note that the EIS is not a decision document.  It is an analysis of the impacts of the various alternatives with regard to their potential environmental and related economic impacts.  The final EIS will be available for public review for at least 30 days before USDA will publish a record of decision on how it will proceed.