Commercial hay growers will not be allowed to plant Roundup Ready alfalfa under permit this coming spring as was reported in Iowa earlier this month. That’s according to Tom Sim, director of the Biotechnology Regulatory Services’ Regulatory Operations Program under USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

“It is possible to plant Roundup Ready alfalfa under permit, but the permits are intended for research by developers” and not available to commercial growers, Sim says. “The permits, again for research purposes, are for small amounts, less than an acre or a few acres and nothing of a commercial scale. The developers are trying to stay current with the technologies so when or if Roundup Ready alfalfa does become deregulated again, they will be ready to offer good products to the producers.”

Roundup Ready alfalfa was deregulated in 2005 only to be taken off the market by court order in March 2007. Roundup Ready alfalfa’s status depends on the outcome of an environmental impact statement, due to be completed by fall of 2009, USDA estimates.

For exact wording of the order, visit: www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/pdf/RRA_A8_final.pdf.
An information update on Roundup Ready alfalfa can be found at: www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/biotechnology/content/printable_version/pa_alfalfa.pdf. For general information on the status of genetically modified alfalfa, visit: www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/alfalfa.shtml.