Farmers warn of Dow's GE corn and soybeans

This article was originally published in May 2014

Nearly 400,000 farmers, farmworkers, health professionals and concerned citizens from across the country urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reject Dow AgroSciences’ application seeking approval of controversial genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybean varieties that tolerate the hazardous herbicide 2,4-D.

Additionally, more than 800 farmers from across the country petitioned Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to reject the pesticide-promoting seeds, warning that their introduction would harm their crops, farm businesses, livelihoods and health.

USDA itself concedes approval of 2,4-D-resistant corn and soybeans would lead to an unprecedented 200- to nearly 600-percent increase in agricultural use of 2,4-D by 2020, from 26 million to as much as 176 million pounds per year. Independent scientists have projected far greater increases for corn alone.

Even at current use levels, 2,4-D drift reportedly is responsible for more episodes of crop harm than any other herbicide. Organic soybean, fruit and vegetable farmers particularly are worried about pesticide drift. Lost crops means lost income for farmers.

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