DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “USDA should have been seeking a better balance between biotechnology and organic production before lawsuits locked up the department’s regulatory process over Roundup Ready alfalfa and sugar beets, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said last week.
“In an interview with DTN/The Progressive Farmer, Vilsack explained the goal of a recent meeting between stakeholders in both biotechnology crops and non-biotech farming was to serve as the first step toward a path in which both sectors of agriculture can grow and be profitable. Finding some regulatory middle ground for biotechnology crops will be a major initiative for USDA throughout 2011.
“‘This is a discussion because of technology obviously being adopted very rapidly by American agriculture while at the same time we’re seeing this explosive expansion of farmers who want to be able to plant organically. The question as we consider these technologies is how to make sure every person has the capacity and the ability to farm [in a way] that’s best for them,’ Vilsack said. ‘What we have now in both the alfalfa and the sugar beet circumstances is the courts intervening and restricting the rights of what some people want to do with their land.’”