Your Action is Needed

Published online: Dec 01, 2010 American Sugarbeet Growers Association
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As a member of the American agricultural community, it is very important that you weigh in with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on giving farmers the choice to plant Roundup Ready sugarbeets (also referenced as "GE sugarbeets" in the Federal Register) in 2011. The USDA is currently conducting a public comment period on interim regulatory measures that would authorize planting of Roundup Ready sugarbeets. Comments may be submitted between November 4, 2010, and December 6, 2010. BACKGROUND Although Roundup Ready sugarbeets were approved in 2005, widely adopted over the past five years and planted on 95 percent of all sugarbeet acreage across 10 states in the U.S., a lawsuit brought by the Center for Food Safety and others voided USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS) original deregulation. The court ruling took away farmers' choice to use this technology, even though there has been no finding of harm to the environment or to farmers who choose not to use this technology. On November 4, 2010, after receiving a request for partial deregulation or some similar administrative action from Monsanto and KWS, USDA's APHIS published a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) in the Federal Register (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-27970.pdf)which provides an analysis of any environmental impacts associated with actions the agency is considering for Roundup Ready sugarbeets. Any action that the agency would take in response to the request for partial deregulation would be an interim measure until APHIS completes a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The draft EA examines the alternatives that USDA reviewed in order to give farmers the choice to plant Roundup Ready sugarbeets until APHIS completes a full EIS. The Federal Register notice asks for comments on USDA's action. Comments may be submitted until December 6, 2010. It is important for USDA to hear that the agriculture community supports advancing agricultural technology and moving forward; it is important for farmers to have choice; and it is important for all who want access to new technologies that can improve agriculture productivity and farmer efficiency. Submit your comment. The USDA is receptive to public input. Supportive letters are important to counter potential negative comments. Letters should be unique as the USDA counts multiple form letters as a single comment. You can develop an effective comment and get information on how to submit it at www.supportsugarbeets.com www.americansugarbeet.org