UPDATE – WE LOST THIS ONE…..
The US Dept of Agriculture (otherwise known as the Washington DC office of BioTech Ag) decided to approve GMO alfalfa. The entire press release can be found here but basically it is full of bollocks about how they tried to work hard to include the concerns of everyone. No explanation is given on how they managed to end up on the side where the money is, but Secretary Vilsak is apparently confident enough of his future paycheck to say “Roundup-Ready alfalfa is as safe as traditionally bred alfalfa.”
Roundup is herbicide. Monsanto is a corporation. Alfalfa is a fodder crop, high in protein.
Roundup Ready Alfalfa is tolerant of spray, cannot be killed by spray. It is grown a lot in the mountainous west on irrigation circles, but also in more appropriate places. It is an important feed for the dairy industry.
GMO alfalfa has been shown to drift, it is a major bee-forage when if flowers and there is concern about that as well. Alfalfa is also conventionally removed with spray, so a spray-proof alfalfa has some people worried.
There are all sorts of issues we could talk about… but here is a new one:
This article alleges that glyphosate, the active chemical in Roundup Herbicide, triggers plant diseases. And even that it chemically alters the soil in a plant-harmful way…a way that lasts longer than the intended effect. Imagine, a chemical company selling spray that weakens the immunity of crop plants to disease.
Its an argument I haven’t heard before, but I sure did see the yellow soybeans from train windows all last year and wondered why we didn’t read more about soy diseases. Have a read. This will piss off a lot of farmers.
Monsanto’s Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health
by Jeffrey Smith for the Institute for Responsible Technology
The following article reveals the devastating and unprecedented impact that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is having on the health of our soil, plants, animals, and human population. On top of this perfect storm, the USDA now wants to approve Roundup Ready alfalfa, which will exacerbate this calamity. Please tell USDA Secretary Vilsack not to approve Monsanto’s alfalfa today. [Note: typos corrected from Jan 16th, see details]
While visiting a seed corn dealer’s demonstration plots in Iowa last fall, Dr. Don Huber walked passed a soybean field and noticed a distinct line separating severely diseased yellowing soybeans on the right from healthy green plants on the left (see photo). The yellow section was suffering from Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a serious plant disease that ravaged the Midwest in 2009 and ’10, driving down yields and profits. Something had caused that area of soybeans to be highly susceptible and Don had a good idea what it was.