This Thursday, Secretary Vilsack of the USDA has been called to testify to the House of Representatives to explain why his department has not yet deregulated Roundup Ready Alfalfa for unrestricted use. Roundup Ready Alfalfa is a GMO (genetically modified organism) which can be sprayed with Roundup (a potent herbicide) and not die. The alfalfa is then harvested and is a main component of conventional (not organic) cows' diets.
The problem is that GMO crops like alfalfa, corn and soybeans don't stay in their own fields; they have the potential to spread. Right now, organic farmers hold all the burden of preventing contamination. The biotechnology companies should have to carry their the weight in keeping control of their technology. Solutions must be found to allow organic and non-GMO agriculture to coexist without GMO pollution.
Secretary Vilsack has acted wisely. First, he has been required by the United States Supreme Court to thoroughly review the potential environmental and economic impacts of Roundup Ready Alfalfa on all sectors of the agricultural market, including organic and conventional non-GMO markets. Second, he has called together the thought leaders of the different sectors to have a conversation and try to find a solution that would allow organic and conventional/non-GMO agriculture to coexist with the inevitable sale and planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa.
Now, certain members of Congress want to know why he is sponsoring this conversation, and why he isn't allowing the complete deregulation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa right away, without regard for the organic and conventional/non-GMO markets and consumers.
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