ST. LOUIS, Jan. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it has granted Monsanto Company's (NYSE: MON) petition for review of a federal district court order which halted planting of Roundup Ready® alfalfa in 2007, pending completion of an environmental impact statement (EIS) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
"USDA's regulatory approval process was short-circuited without any hearing to consider the views of impacted farmers and consideration of sound science," said Stephen P. Welker, Monsanto Alfalfa and Sugarbeet Lead. "We view the Supreme Court's action to hear our appeal as important for American farmers and look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court in the coming months. We believe alfalfa growers deserve choice in the products that are available to them."
Monsanto filed the petition with the U.S. Supreme Court in Oct. 2009, arguing that the 2007 injunction by Judge Charles R. Breyer should not have been ordered without first holding an evidentiary hearing. As a result, the ban imposed unnecessary restrictions and costs on alfalfa hay and seed growers. Monsanto and Forage Genetics petitioned the appellate court twice between 2007 and 2008 to fully consider the scientific evidence and tailor any relief ordered pending the governmental agency completion of an EIS.
Roundup Ready® alfalfa was reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was also approved by the USDA before it first went on the market in 2005. Prior to the injunction, Roundup Ready® alfalfa was planted by approximately 5,500 growers across 263,000 acres. Although alfalfa is the fourth-largest crop grown in the U.S. with 23 million acres grown in 48 U.S. states annually, only about 1% is currently Roundup Ready®.
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) completed a draft EIS in late 2009 and recently announced the 60-day open comment period for the draft EIS would occur between December 18, 2009, and February 16, 2010. For more information on Roundup Ready alfalfa, including how to submit a comment to USDA, please visit: www.roundupreadyalfalfa.com .
About Monsanto Company
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit: www.monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MonsantoCo on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MonsantoCo, or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
Editor's Note: Roundup Ready and Monsanto and the Vine Design are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC.
Garrett Kasper (314) 694-6047
SOURCE Monsanto Company