The 2008 National Alfalfa Symposium, set for Feb. 4-5, will feature an in-depth discussion looking at all aspects of the Roundup Ready alfalfa debate. Mark McCaslin, president of Forage Genetics International, will give an update on the transgenic crop, including a review of the legal proceedings and ongoing regulatory process at USDA/APHIS. McCaslin will also discuss the potential for new biotech traits in alfalfa and the importance of science-based coexistence strategies to insure farmer choice.

Other Roundup Ready Alfalfa Face-Off participants will include Phillip Geertson, whose Geertson Seed Farms, Adrian, OR, has been producing alfalfa seed for 68 years. The lead plaintiff in the case against Monsanto and Forage Genetics, Geertson will discuss his concerns about potential risks posed by genetically modified alfalfa. Will Rostov, senior attorney for the Center for Food Safety and lead attorney in the Roundup Ready alfalfa lawsuit, will provide perspective on the legal implications related to the debate. Erik Freese will bring a hay grower's point of view to the discussion, having been one of the first growers in the Dixon, CA, area to use Roundup Ready varieties of both alfalfa and corn. Symposium attendees will be able to ask questions to clarify their understanding of the issues.

The face-off will take place Feb. 4 during the first day of the Symposium. The event will be held at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in Kearney, NE, in conjunction with the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association's Mid-America Alfalfa Expo, Feb. 5-6.

For details on the symposium schedule or to register, visit alfalfasymposium.com, or call 800-722-5334, ext. 14695. For information on the expo, visit alfalfaexpo.com/.