Late last week an injunction against planting Roundup Ready alfalfa was made permanent.

Monsanto Company "is disappointed with the decision ... not to allow farmers to resume planting Roundup Ready alfalfa until the U.S. Department of Agriculture completes an environmental impact statement," according to a statement released by the company. The injunction was issued by the Federal Northern District Court of California following a lawsuit brought by the Center for Food Safety and others against USDA, called Geertson Seed Farms, Inc. et. al v. Mike Johanns, et. al.

Monsanto petitioned the court to become a party in the case to defend grower choice to use the technology. But the court upheld its decision that USDA did not adequately follow National Environmental Policy Act procedural requirements before deregulating the transgenic crop. The court maintained that, under the Plant Protection Act, USDA would have to prepare an environmental impact statement in place of the environmental assessment that was completed.

Roundup Ready alfalfa planted by March 30 can still be grown, harvested and sold as forage. But a federal order will be issued within 45 days of the May 3 judgment, imposing the following requirements:

  • Pollinators can't be added to Roundup Ready alfalfa fields grown only for hay production.
  • Farm equipment used in transgenic alfalfa production must be properly cleaned after use.
  • The crop must be handled and clearly identified to minimize commingling after harvest. "Immediately after harvest, growers or seed producers shall store Roundup Ready alfalfa in specifically designated and clearly labeled containers," according to the ruling.
The court also requires the locations of all existing Roundup Ready alfalfa seed and hay acreage be provided to USDA within 30 days for future public availability. Monsanto is reviewing its options, including the possibility of an appeal of the court's decision.