Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow has pledged to keep the so-called Monsanto Protection Act-technically `The Farmer Assurance Provision'-out of the farm bill.
The measure was included in the continuing budget resolution passed by Congress in March. It would allow farmers to continue to plant approved GMO seed that a court later decides needs to be further tested.
On the Senate floorthis week, Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkeley of Oregon pushed for a vote on an amendment to repeal the rider.
"The current situation in Oregon of GMO wheat escaping a field test-resulting in several nations suspending the import of white wheat from the United States-underscores the fact that poorly regulated GMO cultivation can pose a significant threat to farmers who are not cultivating GMO crops."
A vote on his amendment was blocked by Republicans. Merkley then implored Stabenow to keep the rider out of the farm bill.
She agreed to do so, "And, I share your concern that the Agriculture Committee and other appropriate committees didn't have the opportunity to engage in this debate."
Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said the provision protects farmers who have already purchased GMO seed and it allows what Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack testified that he already has the power to do. allow the seed to be planted.
The Senate could vote on the farm bill Monday.