Congressmen Petition Vilsack for Partial Deregulation of GM Alfalfa

Recently, GMO Journal discussed how certain lawmakers wrote to Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), asking him to continue regulating GM alfalfa to ensure that the crop is not approved for commercial use.

But you knew that that was not the end of the story.

According to a Land O’Lakes press release, Vilsack received a letter signed by 75 Members of Congress urging the USDA to allow limited planting of Roundup Ready® alfalfa while the agency completes an Environmental Impact Statement. Led by Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R, KS-02), Congressmen Wally Herger (R, CA-02) and Joe Courtney (D, CT-02), the letter was signed by many key House leaders. Co-signers include much of the House Agriculture Committee leadership, including Chairman Collin Peterson (D, MN-07) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R, OK-03), most subcommittee chairs and ranking members, and several others – for a total of 27 committee members.

The letter was also supported by a coalition of agriculture groups that include the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).  Land O’Lakes also supported the letter.

In case you are wondering, Land O’Lakes’ subsidiary, Forage Genetics International, developed Roundup Ready alfalfa in conjunction with Monsanto.

Can Vilsack’s industry-brethren rely on the Secretary to listen to their demands? We’ll find out soon enough.