The uncertainty continues over the planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets in 2011.
A federal judge in California has ruled that USDA has once again violated a federal environmental law by allowing companies to plant Roundup Ready sugar beet seedlings.
In August, Judge Jeffrey White ruled that USDA was wrong in deregulating Round Ready sugar beets without completing a proper environmental impact statement. USDA agreed to do the study, saying it would take at least two years to complete. Meanwhile, in September USDA said that it would allow the industry to begin planting Roundup Ready seedlings, called “stecklings”. Environmental groups filed a complaint against USDA, seeking an injunction to stop the agency from allowing the stecklings to be planted and the judge has agreed.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressed frustration over the latest ruling. Vilsack says the uncertainty over whether farmers will be allowed to plant Roundup Ready beets is stressing farm families who grow the crop. He suggests that environmental groups and those who favor biotechnology are going to have to figure out a way to co-exist, as opposed to the current climate, which is—as Vilsack puts it—“winner-take-all”.