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Farmers Want More Scrutiny of New Monsanto Crops

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Indiana News page.

A coalition of farmers is asking federal regulators to further scrutinize Monsanto Co.'s new soybean and cotton offerings, saying they could pose environmental threats to nearby crops.

The Indiana-based Save our Crops Coalition, a group of farmers who grow conventional and organic crops, filed a comment with the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week, asking the department to expand its review of soybeans and cotton that Monsanto is developing and are currently awaiting federal approval.

The company filed its own comment, late Wednesday, asking the agency to suspend its review altogether, saying the agency doesn't have authority over the issue. The additional review, the company said, "would further delay introduction of important products to the market, ultimately harming farmers and the agricultural economy."

Monsanto has been working to genetically modify soybeans and cotton to make them resistant to dicamba, a decades-old herbicide known for being especially volatile and prone to drift into "non-target" fields.

The company, along with its competitors, is scrambling to develop new herbicide formulations and crops to overcome growing resistance to glyphosate, a herbicide developed by Monsanto and sold as Roundup.

Roundup Ready, or glyphosate-tolerant, crops - which are genetically engineered to withstand applications of Roundup - have become ubiquitous on American farmland, accounting for the vast majority of corn and soy grown in the country. But in recent years, as farmers have increasingly relied on the Roundup Ready system, weeds have evolved to survive glyphosate.

The new soybeans and cotton, designed to survive applications of dicamba, are Monsanto's answer to the problem - and an important addition to its product lineup.    


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