January 27, 2011
NAFA is pleased with today's USDA announcement. On January 13th, NAFA requested the Secretary deregulate Roundup Ready alfalfa (RRA) without restriction.
Alfalfa is a key component of sustainable agricultural systems - its value for soil conservation, nitrogen fixation, energy savings, crop rotation, and wildlife habitat is unsurpassed. In addition, alfalfa must offer a competitive value proposition for farmers in order to provide these benefits and maintain or expand its acreage base; being able to access the latest technology is critical in keeping pace with other cropping choices.
USDA's own APHIS researchers have come to the conclusion that RRA does not pose a plant pest risk and NAFA agrees with this assessment
NAFA strongly supports the availability and continued use of biotechnology in agriculture. While RRA was embroiled in litigation (for nearly four years), the alfalfa community was proactive, taking the initiative to foster coexistence by bringing together industry representatives, academicians, USDA, and advocates of organic, biotech, and conventional alfalfa production to develop best management practices and coexistence documents. This was done in 2007-08 and was an industry driven process, free from government intervention, allowing those within our industry the flexibility and autonomy to address production issues without regulatory interference.
While those initial 2008 documents provide a basis for coexistence, NAFA is willing and eager to continue to engage the industry in comprehensive discussions on ways to build upon those documents to develop methodologies that enable coexistence among various alfalfa seed and forage markets.