Washington, D.C. (January 27, 2011)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today praised the decision by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to approve the unconditional deregulation of Roundup Ready® alfalfa (RRA).
“Today’s decision is a victory for science and for America’s alfalfa producers, giving them access to a safe, proven technology that will allow them to boost productivity while enhancing their good stewardship of natural resources,” said NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner. “In deregulating RRA without conditions, USDA has upheld the integrity of regulatory process for biotechnology crops that has existed since the adoption of the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology in 1986.”
The approval comes just over a month after APHIS issued its environmental impact statement (EIS) concluding that RRA posed no risk under the Plant Protection Act. The EIS was prepared in accordance with a 2007 order issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which found procedural problems with APHIS’s initial deregulation of RRA.
“By making this decision in a timely manner after completing the EIS, APHIS and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack have given alfalfa producers the ability to begin using RRA for the crop that will be planted this spring,” Conner continued. “We look forward to working with the Department as the process to approve other biotechnology crops moves forward.”
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 3,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.