Ludicrous, absurd, unbelievable, preposterous — those just a few descriptive terms for California Federal District Court Judge Charles Breyer's decision to halt the sale of Roundup Ready alfalfa seed.
Not only did he suspend the sale of herbicide-resistant seed for two years, he put RR alfalfa in the same category as child molesters. I am surprised he didn't make producers now farming RR alfalfa seed and forage fields wear ankle monitoring bracelets like criminals.
He almost went that far when he ordered Forage Genetics to GPS-identify 220,000 acres of alfalfa seed and forage fields and post those fields on the Internet.
For what? Superfund waste sites? Radioactive waste storage sites?
No — alfalfa containing a totally harmless protein. Alfalfa that cows, women and children can eat, walk in, munch on, sniff, and experience with not one harmful effect.
All this to appease a bunch of radicals bent on destroying the American economy, and to mollify a couple of obscure seed companies that think a protein may contaminate conventional or organic alfalfa (or are angry they did not get a license to sell Roundup Ready alfalfa).
One of the companies sells almost nothing but genetically modified alfalfa varieties resistant to pests and diseases. How did the alfalfa Geertsen sells become resistant? Through genetic modification.
Wonder what Geertsen and Trask would think if some judge ordered their farms mapped and GPS'd on the Internet for the world to see, on the totally absurd notion something they're doing might be harmful? Wonder what the plaintiff's lawyers would think if their cars were ordered equipped with tracking devices just because a judge decided they might be harmful to the environment?
So what if the glyphosate-resistant gene gets into another alfalfa field? You may be able detect it, but what harm will it do? None.
And let's get off the glyphosate-resistant mega-weed kick.
Sure, there are issues with glyphosate-resistant weeds. But, let's put the issue in perspective: There are exactly 12 of 314 herbicide-resistant weeds worldwide identified as resistant to glyphosate.
The Weed Science Society of America says the No. 1 herbicide class for weed resistance is ALS inhibitors, with 95 resistant weeds. Atrazine has 66; Diclofop-methyl (Hoelon, Illoxan, Hoe-Grass), 35; 2, 4-D, 25 weeds; paraquat, 23; chlorotoluron, 21 — all those before the list lands on glyphosate.
Certainly, glyphosate-resistance is a serious issue, largely because of the explosion of herbicide-resistant crops. Can producers do anything about it?
For one thing they can go to their equipment yards and find the disks and cultivators covered by weeds. They can a herbicide other than glyphosate to kill weeds.
Sorry judge, the world will not end because 12 weeds are resistant.
And don't accuse me of owning Monsanto stock or being on the Monsanto payroll. It won't fly. I think there is a half empty plastic jug of 3 percent Roundup in the garage. That is my total involvement with Monsanto.
Monsanto, Forage Genetics, Farm Bureau, and other farm organizations must appeal this ridiculous decision to protect American agriculture from a threat far more insidious than any transgenic gene or weed.