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Supreme Court strikes down ban on genetically-engineered alfalfa

The U.S. Supreme Court

By Veronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO – The Supreme Court today ruled in favor of Monsanto, overturning a lower-court's ban on the planting of genetically-engineered alfalfa.

The 7-to-1 decision opens the door for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow farmers to plant Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa - with some restrictions - while the agency conducts an environmental impact assessment.

Speaking on a conference call, Monsanto's general counsel Dave Snively hailed the court's decision as a victory for the company, and for farmers: "This should give growers great hope that new technologies in alfalfa are coming, and coming soon."

The Center for Food Safety represented those who brought suit against Monsanto over concerns the genetically-engineered alfalfa could spread its genes to other alfalfa fields.

Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell thinks USDA is unlikely to approve planting until it has finished a full review of the crop.

The USDA has said it anticipates finishing that review next April.

Kimbrell says he is happy with the Court's decision.

"We consider it a victory because the ban on the planting and selling of this remains in place until USDA fully comports with the law and does its environmental impact statement and all the other things it has to do to properly approve this product."

Monsanto says it will work with USDA to get Roundup Ready alfalfa into the hands of farmers as soon as possible.


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