SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI - The American Soybean Association (ASA) supports today's decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to deregulate biotechnology-derived, glyphosate-tolerant alfalfa, effective immediately and without conditions. The decision reinforces that USDA's policy-making activities adhere to a science-based regulatory process, and is consistent with the reviews that led USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to conclude that biotech alfalfa does not pose a plant pest risk.

ASA believes this decision by USDA is the correct one. It recognizes that USDA has no authority to impose restrictions on when, where, and how biotech alfalfa can be grown in order to achieve "coexistence" with organic alfalfa production. It recognizes that cooperation on coexistence best can be achieved neighbor to neighbor, and by working with trade associations, trait developers, seed companies, and state and local officials.

ASA and other farm groups, along with the biotechnology industry, strongly opposed USDA's proposed restrictions on biotech alfalfa to establish a broad regulatory policy for agricultural "coexistence." ASA was concerned that USDA's earlier proposals would have set a dangerous precedent for the continued development of biotech traits, undermined 25 years of science-based regulatory policy in the United States, and damaged efforts to ensure that international trading partners base decisions surrounding biotechnology on science.

The announcement was made earlier today by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who indicated that decisions on biotech sugar beets and amylase corn could be made as early as next week.

SOURCE: American Soybean Association