Click here to download a PDF version of a sign-up sheet to gather signatures in your community (farmers market, school, church, etc.) You can print out as many copies as you need.
We, the undersigned, call on USDA to protect farmer livelihoods and the health of communities across the country by keeping the next wave of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant crops off the market.
If approved, Dow’s 2,4-D-resistant corn and soybean seeds — as well as Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant soybean and cotton varieties — are expected to lead to dramatically increased use of herbicides. And 2,4-D and dicamba are likely to drift off target plants, harming farmers’ crops and livelihoods and threatening the health of those living and working nearby.
Already, widespread planting of Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready seeds has resulted in the development of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” — now covering more than 60 million acres of U.S. farmland. If Monsanto and Dow’s new GE seeds are introduced, more “superweeds” are expected alongside the surge in use of 2,4-D and dicamba. But the effects this time will be even more harmful, for these reasons:
- Dicamba and 2,4-D herbicides are a threat to non-target plants, particularly specialty crops (like grapes, tomatoes, beans and sweet corn) and non-resistant corn, soy and cotton.
- Dicamba and 2,4-D are likely to drift. Both spray drift and volatilization drift can devastate crops, adjacent ecosystems and landscapes. This poses a serious threat to rural economies and farmers growing vulnerable crops. Conventional farmers will lose crops, while organic farmers will lose both crops and certification, resulting in an economic unraveling of already-stressed rural communities.
- 2,4-D drift threatens the health of rural communities. Numerous health studies have established links between 2,4-D exposure and birth defects, hormone disruption and cancers like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Children are particularly susceptible to its effects.
While Dow says it has developed a new less-volatile formulation, the older highly volatile formula is still widely available and its lower cost creates a powerful market incentive to continue its use. And regardless of idealized “best practices”, drift happens.
Instead of supporting technologies that rely on harmful drift-prone chemicals, we call on USDA to devote more attention to research, development and extension of safe and smart 21st century ecological approached to weed management.