Seventy-five house members on Friday signed a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the USDA to partially deregulate Roundup Ready alfalfa (RRA) in time for inventoried seed to be planted in 2010. The largely bi-partisan effort, organized by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), is intended to make the benefits from a recent ruling of the Supreme Court available to farmers before the next planting season.
The letter from the House members cited statements from the Supreme Court, excerpts from a USDA report on RRA, and higher profits associated with the planting of the bio-technology crop to persuade Secretary Vilsack to partially deregulate RRA.
While the USDA does not have authority to completely deregulate the planting of RRA until the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service completes an EIS, the Court’s ruling does allow the Department to permit interim use of previously harvested and inventoried seed.
The Supreme Court case and the resulting re-introduction of RRA could set an important precedent for future bio-tech advances.