The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the deregulation of Roundup Ready® Alfalfa (RRA) without conditions.
This was the final step in an extensive environmental review process undertaken by the USDA that took 46 months to complete. With the return of RRA to the U.S. market, alfalfa growers will once again have the option to use this technology.
"We're very pleased that the USDA has deregulated the product without conditions," said Mark McCaslin, president of Forage Genetics International, a co-developer of RRA.
Roundup Ready alfalfa was developed by Monsanto and Forage Genetics International. McCaslin said that Forage Genetics and other licensed seed companies are prepared to sell RRA seed to growers for the spring planting season.
“This is great news for farmers who have been waiting for the green light to plant Roundup Ready alfalfa,” said Steve Welker, alfalfa commercial lead at Monsanto.
Roundup Ready alfalfa was first commercialized in 2005. More than 5,000 farmers had planted Roundup Ready alfalfa on more than 250,000 acres before a court ruling regarding USDA’s administrative process halted further sales and planting.
A 2007 court order in California blocked Monsanto from selling and farmers from planting the alfalfa seeds until the federal government completed an environmental study on the seeds’ impact on other alfalfa crops.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Monsanto and overturned a three-year-old ban on the company’s alfalfa seeds, which have been created to withstand Monsanto’s weed killer. It was the first time the Supreme Court considered genetically modified crops and the process for approving them.