Calling it a step for “much-needed innovations,” 11 agricultural organizations urged an Agriculture Department takeover of federal regulation of genetically engineered food animals, now in FDA’s hands. The Trump administration proposed the transfer — over FDA objections — in late 2020 and it …
The victors in a lawsuit against the weedkiller dicamba asked the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn an EPA decision that would let farmers use the herbicide until July 31. "Emergency relief is required to prevent off-field drift harms that will occur on millions of acres should spraying continue," said the coalition of farm and environmental groups in an emergency petition.
Farmers and pesticide applicators can use the weedkiller dicamba until July 31, the EPA announced on Monday as it canceled its approval of the herbicide, as required by an appellate court decision announced last week. The so-called existing stocks order will allow use of the chemical on GE cotton and soybeans this crop year — the goal of farmers facing the loss of a potent weed control tool with the growing season already underway.
Gene editing has enormous potential to improve health and food production, but innovation must be governed by well-rooted standards of safety and effectiveness, said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn. "The agency is a trusted global regulator and we are committed to overseeing this space in a manner that fosters innovation, protects consumer confidence and protects the public health."
Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, poses no threat to human health when used as directed and is unlikely to cause cancer, said the EPA in an interim decision on Thursday. Environmental groups denounced the decision as faulty.
The GMO wheat discovered growing wild in a Washington State field this spring actually sprouted from two different strains developed by Monsanto, the USDA announced over the weekend. Genetically engineered wheat is not approved for cultivation anywhere in the world, yet "volunteer" herbicide-resistant plants have been confirmed four times in the U.S. Northwest more than a decade after field trials ended.
The USDA has never approved cultivation of genetically engineered wheat, yet for the fourth time since April 2013 a wheat strain resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate was found growing wild in the northwestern United States. The discovery could disrupt wheat exports and it raises questions about USDA's ability to police agricultural biotechnology.
In its newest attempt to overhaul biotechnology rules adopted in 1987, the USDA said it would exempt new crop varieties created through techniques such as gene editing from regulatory review, so long as the modifications are similar to those achieved by traditional breeding and pose no plant-pest risks.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture set a June 20 cut-off date for spraying the weedkiller dicamba on GE soybeans and barred application of the herbicide when temperatures top 85 degrees, said the Associated Press.
Faced by hundreds of complaints of crops damaged by dicamba, the Arkansas Plant Board proposed a ban on use of the weedkiller on soybeans and cotton for most of the 2018 growing season.
Spurred by nearly 1,000 complaints of crop damage from dicamba this summer, the Arkansas State Plant Board has proposed a ban on using the weedkiller on cotton and soybeans from April 16 to Oct. 31 — effectively the entire growing season. The EPA also is considering restrictions on the use of dicamba, which was touted as a new tool against invasive weeds resistant to other herbicides but has also been blamed for damaging more than 3 million acres of soybeans nationwide.
The Arkansas State Plant Board, which is scheduled to decide today whether to limit use of the weedkiller dicamba in 2018, is getting advice that ranges from a letter that suggests permitting use of the herbicide as late as May 25 to a petition against any limits at all, says broadcaster KARK. A task force convened at the direction of Gov. Asa Hutchinson has recommended an April 15 cutoff for using dicamba on cotton and soybeans in the state next year.
Faced with rising complaints about misuse of the weedkiller dicamba, the Arkansas state plant board voted to temporarily prohibit farmers from spraying the herbicide on soybean and cotton crops. The board has received more than 240 complaints of crop damage caused by dicamba drifting from neighboring fields.