By Miriam Paris
U.S. Soybean Marketing Manager
Recent media reports have focused on grower and grain handler conversations about Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans, particularly the pending European Union (EU) import approval. As the 2016 season progresses, these topics remain top of mind for our farmer customers and partners. We take stewardship of our products seriously, and it’s one of the driving forces behind our ongoing communication with members of industry associations, growers and others.
Prior to and at the time of commercialization we communicated the status of foreign regulatory import approvals for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend with the industry, including soybean grower groups and grain handlers. Based on our historical experience and our direct communication with EU officials, we expected approval prior to planting. Both of the single traits, Roundup Ready 2 Yield and dicamba-tolerant soybeans, are fully approved by the EU and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). EFSA issued a positive scientific opinion on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend last June.
While EU approval has not yet been received, it is in the final, administrative stage of approval, which should be completed in the near future. In fact, the EU Commission stated in a letter to the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) dated April 12 that import approval is “at the final stage of the procedure” and even more recently a Commission official was quoted in the European press (AgraFacts No. 29-16 April 20, 2016) as stating the product should be approved “before the summer.”
Earlier this spring, we understood that final decisions were being made on the farm, and we communicated changes specific to the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend return policy. Growers who wish to trade in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend units or cancel orders can do so, and we will waive certain charges. Our aim is to provide a choice of high-yielding genetics in either the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend or Roundup Ready 2 Yield® products when planting conditions are right.
So while we await the final administrative approval from the EU Commission, we continue to maintain a productive dialogue with industry partners including the grain-handling sector.