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Court Rules Against USDA in Alfalfa Case

In a case dealing with a USDA environmental impact statement for biotech alfalfa, a federal judge rules farmers can not resume planting it.

USDA will have to finish an environmental impact statement on Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa before farmers can resume planting the crop, a U.S. District Court ruled Thursday. Roundup Ready alfalfa planted by March 30, 2007, can still be grown, harvested and sold as forage.

The Center for Food Safety and others brought the suit against USDA amid concerns that biotech alfalfa could cross-pollinate with conventional alfalfa. Monsanto claims the two types of forage can be grown on the same operation.

"Proper stewardship makes it possible to grow both organic and biotech crops," says Don Cameron, a California farmer who grows both biotech and organic alfalfa. "We've successfully accomplished this for nearly a decade on our operation and plan to continue."

Monsanto says it petitioned the court to become a party in the case to defend grower choice to use the technology. The company is reviewing its options, including the possibility of an appeal of the court's decision.

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