Specialty crop alarm raised over 2,4-D resistant corn and soybean - The Packer

Specialty crop alarm raised over 2,4-D resistant corn and soybean

03/18/2014 09:28:00 AM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstTo crudely reshape the old quote from Rudyard Kipling about the east and west, produce is produce and grain is grain and never the twain shall meet.

At least, that’s generally been my experience in nearly three decades at The Packer. Except for certain dusty corners of farm bill policy - planting fruits and vegetables on “program crop” acres - the worlds never seem to bump up against each other.

 But there are more points of intersection now. Labor is one issue that is increasingly cited as a reason that some growers of high value specialty crops are switching to traditional grain crops.

 Another point of connection I stumbled upon this morning as I was reviewing www.regulations.gov for fruit and vegetable related rulemaking. As it turns out, there were many public comments about the USDA APHIS’ Environmental Impact Statement reviewing Dow’s stacked trait herbicide deregulation request.

 Many of the comments referenced the potential impact of the USDA approval of the USDA’s Dow’s stacked herbicide resistant corn and soybean

 Here are selected comments:

 David Mortensen, Professor, Weed and Applied Plant Ecologist, Department of Plant Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University: “In addition to concerns about compromised environmental quality, herbicide spillover of the kind that would occur with the approval of this application will make it more difficult for fruit and vegetable farmers to coexist with grain crop farmers.”

 Christopher Lish, Olema, Calif.: “Specialty crop and organic farmers, including grape growers and tomato producers, are deeply concerned that Dow’s Enlist corn system will threaten their crops. 2,4-D is known to drift—directly and through volatilization—which poses a very real threat to rural economies, endangered species, and farmers growing crops not engineered to withstand application of these potent chemicals. Conventional farmers could lose crops, while organic farmers could lose both crops and certification, resulting in an economic unraveling of already-stressed rural communities. 2,4-D drift is already responsible for more episodes of crop injury than any other herbicide, and its vastly increased use promises still more damage to crops like soybeans, cotton, vegetables, and fruit. Also concerning is the indiscriminate nature of GE gene contamination among crops, especially organic crops.”

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