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Vilsack gets letter expressing concerns about engineered alfalfa

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The effect of engineered alfalfa on the organic dairy industry worries some lawmakers.
The effect of engineered alfalfa on the organic dairy industry worries some lawmakers.

Eventually, farm equipment across the country may be used to plant genetically enhanced alfalfa seeds once the U.S. Department of Agriculture takes a closer look at the product.

The ability to do so was recently ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 7-1 ruling, justices decided that permanent restrictions on the crop could be lifted. As a result, the USDA will look at its effects on the environment and whether it should be allowed to be planted.

However, not everyone is thrilled at the idea that the alfalfa could be used. In a recent letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, members of Congress expressed their concerns about the plant, which they said could injure the production of organic versions.

They contend it could also hurt the U.S. organic dairy industry, which uses natural alfalfa to feed livestock.

"Organic feed is already expensive and in short supply in this country, if organic alfalfa becomes contaminated by GE alfalfa, it would greatly compound the feed shortage and increase the operating costs for organic dairy farms," the letter noted.

The alfalfa could also lead to hurting U.S. trade relations. This comes as the Obama administration is working to improve the country's exports.ADNFCR-2034-ID-19864953-ADNFCR

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