Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its decision to deregulate Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant trait technologies — Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton. USDA indicated that its decision will be published in the Federal Register in the near future. These weed management solutions will provide farmers with more consistent, flexible control of tough-to-manage broadleaf weeds.
“This announcement marks an important milestone for farmers around the world,” said Robb Fraley, Ph.D., Monsanto’s chief technology officer. “Weeds represent a key pest to agriculture operations around the world and limit crops of much-needed nutrients, sunlight and access to available water resources. We’re excited to provide additional tools that can help improve efficiencies on farm and support farmers in bringing more food to harvest for consumers.”
Many in agriculture, including the American Soybean Association (ASA), issued a statement welcoming the decision and calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to quickly finalize the label for the companion Dicamba herbicide technology.
“Today’s decision by USDA to deregulate Dicamba is great news for American soybean farmers. In almost all of our 30 soy-growing states, farmers face a strong foe in herbicide-resistant weeds, and this technology presents another mode of action with which we can combat this issue,” said Wade Cowan, ASA President and Brownfield, Texas, farmer. “We appreciate USDA’s work on this issue and encourage them to continue addressing our industry’s need for a more reliable biotech approvals process. We turn our attention now to the final registration of the Dicamba product label at EPA, and then to approvals in key soybean export markets like China, so our farmers can fully implement this technology on their farms.”
Because of the importance of export markets to U.S. soybean farmers, ASA has a long-standing policy requiring technology providers like Monsanto to seek and obtain approvals in key U.S. soy export markets prior to commercializing those traits domestically. ASA works closely with technology companies, fellow members of the soy value chain and government entities to facilitate timely, science-based reviews of new biotech soybean traits both domestically and abroad.