Sugarbeet farmers are anxiously following every step of the litigation surrounding the deregulation of Monsanto’s GenuityTM Roundup Ready Sugarbeets technology to determine what it means for next year’s seed purchases.
Briefly for those that haven’t been following: in January 2008, the Center for Food Safety along with Organic Seed Alliance, Sierra Club and High Mowing Organic Seeds initiated legal action challenging the USDA’s deregulation of Roundup Ready sugarbeets. In September 2009, a judge ruled that the USDA would have to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Roundup Ready sugarbeets. The ruling focused on the process USDA used and did not question the safety or benefits of the technology. Read the sugarbeet industry’s response to the decision here.
Last Friday, the judge held a case management conference to decide how the court will proceed with the next phase of litigation. The court schedule for further proceedings is as follows:
- A settlement conference with a U.S. Magistrate is no later than Feb. 4, 2010.
- Oral arguments on proposed remedies on June 11, 2010.
The September decision and this latest conference has no immediate effect for either growers producing biotech sugarbeets or the processors. Sugarbeet growers can harvest their crops and process them as usual. Thus far, the court hasn’t taken any action that would prevent farmers from having the option to plant Roundup Ready sugarbeets next year.
For more updates on this litigation, please continue to follow Beyond the Rows and check out the Sugar Industry Biotech Council Web site at http://www.sugarindustrybiotechcouncil.org/.