Bayer/Monsanto has petitioned the USDA to approve a new corn seed that has been genetically engineered to survive applications of not just one or two chemicals, but five — dicamba, 2,4-D, glufosinate, quizalofop, and glyphosate.
Dozens of genetically engineered (or GMO) seeds have been designed to tolerate specific herbicides, and the results have been a disaster. As scientists predicted, the use of such GMO seeds meant that the accompanying herbicides were used much more frequently – increasing herbicide contamination of our water and air and creating “superweeds” that are resistant to the herbicides. There are now an estimated hundred million acres of cropland infested with these superweeds.
The logical answer would be to stop going down this endless path of ever-increasing herbicide use … but that would massively reduce profits for companies like Bayer/Monsanto that not only patent the seeds, but sell the herbicides to be used with them. So instead their answer is more genetically engineered seeds to be used with more dangerous chemical mixtures.
USDA is taking public comments until July 7 – please join us in telling them NO!
This problem cannot be solved with market pressure, because as more of these herbicide-resistant seeds are approved and planted, even farmers who don’t want to use them will face pressure to plant them. That’s because if they plant their normal seeds, whether conventional or organic, they face the loss of their crops due to herbicide drift from those farmers who are planting these GMO seeds. So, Bayer/Monsanto makes even MORE profits, while farmers and our communities lose as seed choices are further limited, pesticide drift and exposure increases, and vital biodiversity is lost.
Now more than ever, farmers need tools to build diverse, healthy, resilient food systems. This new GMO seed would take options away from farmers who face the loss of their crops, and then from consumers who will have even more difficulty finding GMO-free foods.
Deadline: 11:59 pm on Tuesday, July 7.
Below is a sample comment. Feel free to disregard it and write your own short comment! Or add a couple of sentences at the beginning to explain your interest in the issue (whether as a farmer or consumer) and use the talking points in the sample. The most important thing is to submit something that is not purely a form letter.
USDA APHIS (regarding Docket ID: APHIS-2020-0021):
I strongly oppose Monsanto Company’s petition for the determination of nonregulated status for dicamba, glufosinate, quizalofop, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and tissue-specific glyphosate tolerant maize.
The planting of this genetically engineered maize would be extremely detrimental for both croplands and ecosystems. There is ample data showing that herbicide-tolerant crops increase the use of the associated herbicides. Increasing applications of these 5 herbicides would undermine plant health through drift, air contamination, and water contamination. This also has significant implications for human health.
There is also ample evidence that herbicide-resistant crops inevitably lead to herbicide-resistant weeds. Approving a 5-herbicide resistant crop will not solve, and is likely to accelerate, this problem.
As has been the case with dicamba-resistant crops, both conventional and organic farmers will face pressure to plant this GMO seed “defensively” to avoid damage from chemical trespass, even if they do not intend to use one or more of these chemicals. A farmer who adds a small grain or alfalfa to a rotation may find that they inadvertently re-activate residual chemicals in the soil when they add phosphate fertilizer prior to planting. Farmers who would like to use cover crops as a part of a soil health program may find that herbicide residuals from persistent use over time could inhibit germination of those cover crops.
Now more than ever, farmers need more tools to build a biodiverse, resilient food and agriculture system. This new GMO seed would reduce options for farmers, harming not only the individual producers but our country’s food security.
I urge you to reject Bayer/Monsanto’s petition for the determination of nonregulated status for dicamba, glufosinate, quizalofop, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and tissue-specific glyphosate tolerant maize.