Farm Press Blog

Secretary Vilsack made the right decision on RR alfalfa

•Vilsack had no other choice but to deregulate RR alfalfa without any planting or geographic restrictions. Radical environmental groups do not care about the environment; only money.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack made the right decision to allow sales of Roundup Ready alfalfa to continue.

There has been considerable angst and trepidation over the past 30 days after Vilsack said he wanted to forage a co-existence between the anti-biotech not-so-silent minority and conventional agriculture. It was an admirable goal to try to head-off lawsuits before they happen.

What Vilsack failed to realize is that lawsuits from the likes of the Center for Food Safety are money in the bank. Without lawsuits, they do not get money from foundations and the government. They do not care about the environment. They are strictly self-serving, arrogant extremists feeding at the government trough and feeding on tax dodging foundations. It was obvious shortly after Vilsack announced his plan that the anti-biotech crowd was not interested in compromise. They felt like Vilsack opened the door for them to make totally absurd demands. He slammed that door when he decided to deregulate RR alfalfa.

Vilsack had no other choice but to deregulate RR alfalfa without any planting or geographic restrictions. The possible restrictions bordered on ridiculous. Not much real thought was put behind the one that would have precluded the planting of RR alfalfa in counties where alfalfa forage crops were planted. That would have literally put thousands of farmers and dairymen out of business. Not sure where that came from, but it did not come from someone familiar with agriculture.

Hate to keep hammering at this point, but these radical environmental groups do not care about the environment. They want to bring down Monsanto and corporate America.

The other part of this anti-biotech rhetoric is that there has been no single incident of any person being harmed physically by a biotech food. No headache, no hangnail, no nothing, and there are millions of acres of biotech crops grown in the world.

Agriculture did itself proud in this fight. Valuable lessons were learned. Recognizing that organic producers and seed exporters had a stake in this, regardless of how small the pie piece is, was important. It was a victory with many lessons learned.

Unfortunately, the fight is not over. More lawsuits are coming. However, the marketplace may eventually dictate the demise of these radial groups.

Renee Pinel, president of the Western Plant Health Association, pointed out something very interesting recently when she spoke at a conference about issues facing California ag.

California and U.S. rice growers justifiably have not embraced biotech because of marketing roadblocks in Asia, particularly Japan. Japan will not accept biotech rice. However, Pinel points out that China and India are embracing biotechnology for all crops, and those two nations produce more than half of the world’s rice. They are also big exporters. Rice is a staple for more than half the world’s population. Governments will not allow people to go hungry over a political issue like biotechnology.

The marketplace may put the extremists out of business.

Discuss this Blog Entry 8

Marsha Wilson (not verified)
on Jan 31, 2011

You cannot really believe that Tom Vilsack made the "right choice" in allowing GMO alfalfa to be approved for completely unregulated planting!! I am not a "radical environmental group"! I am a mother, a grand mother, and a person who is completely against Monsanto's RR anything!
1. There has been very little testing of the safety of GMOs.
2. What little research has been done, shows alarming results in the change of DNA in the intestines of animals fed GMOs.
3. You cannot control where nature will take the pollen and in a very short time, all alfalfa will be GMO
4. Due to #3, this decision will rob me of my right to choose NOT to eat GMOs. (The only way to currently avoid GMOs is to buy strictly "Organic". Proliferation of GMO alfalfa will effectively destroy the Organic meat and dairy industry.)
You accuse the organizations that oppose GMOs of profiting from opposing GMOs. Can you please outline exactly how that works? The only people I see raking in the dough here is Monsanto. Even many of the farmers who have chosen to use their RR crops are not profiting. GMO cotton farmers in India are committing suicide by the 100's of thousands due to GMO crop failure, not being able to save seed, and the GMO need for more and more chemicals. I am a normal person, I work for the US Govt (VA medical clinic) and I think this is one of the biggest mistakes in world history. There is no going back once the seeds are "out of the bag".

on Feb 1, 2011

As a retired agriculture teacher here in the southwest, I must say I am ashamed of your ignorance on your behalf Mr. Cline. When we care only for short sighted profit, the stewardship inherent to the American farmer is indeed on the steep decline, but then again, you are no farmer and your words portray you as just another greased palm. Your hateful, inaccurate rhetoric may be popular these days, but to attempt to divide the hardworking people of this nation striving to provide safe and resilient food supplies to our great country is a great shame.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 1, 2011

This defense of Vilsack is one big heaping steaming pile of bovine droppings.

Justin (not verified)
on Feb 1, 2011

Another teacher here, except that I teach logic. And I too assure you, Mr. Cline, that you are deluded. I understand how this deregulation seemingly benefits you and many farmers, but a small amount of objectivity would help you to see beyond the force of the status quo and your own interest.

I was ambivalent on the issue for many years, and during those years the "arrogant extremist" environmentalists that I met were the most kind, the most empathetic, the most thoughtful, while ALL of the conventional farmers I met were almost entirely ignorant of the impact of conventional farming methods beyond their own livelihood. They are good people, but people who could not see beyond their own immediate interest. This fact was what eventually opened my eyes.

"Recognizing that organic producers and seed exporters had a stake in this" and then completely ignoring that stake is not a victory for Agriculture, Mr. Cline. The utter disregard of the rights of those who want to grow and buy organic foods is nothing to be proud of.

The marketplace will not put the "extremists" out of business. A good friend of mine, ignorant and hateful, has begun carefully sprouting natural alfalfa seed in her own house in protest.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 1, 2011

Amazing. This article ignores a 10 year longitudinal study showing declining yields on cropland sprayed with Roundup. Why plant Roundup Ready seeds on cropland, so one can spray more Roundup on the plants, so one can have declining crop yields which will worsen as time goes on? It baffles the mind.

Monsanto (not verified)
on Feb 1, 2011

Thank you Mr. Cline, a very well researched and written piece on the importance of GMO. Looking forward to more great articles from you. Oh yeah, your check is in the mail.

- Monsanto Corp.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 4, 2011

Mr. Cline,

You have no humanity.

Jonathan Bostic (not verified)
on Feb 4, 2011

this article shows nothing but arrogance and a bias towards GMO agriculture. The market for organics is not going away its only growing as the consumers are becoming more educated towards the evils of organizations like Monsanto and their destruction of food. Mr Cline please put more thought into your writing and spare the public of your crap

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Farm Press Blog?

The Farm Press Daily Blog

Connect With Us
Blog Archive
Continuing Education Courses
This CE course is accredited for hours in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The content focuses...
New Course
The 2,000 member Weed Science Society of America’s (WSSA) Herbicide Resistance Action...
New Course
The course details six of the primary diseases affecting citrus: Huanglongbing (Citrus...

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×