Time to Speak Out Against 2,4-D Crops: Deadline March 11

Hand Holding Black Pen

The comment deadline has been extended to March 11, 2014.

USDA has taken a big step toward approving Dow’s herbicide-tolerant corn and soybeans engineered to survive applications of 2,4-D herbicides. In January the agency announced through a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that it recommends these crops be commercialized. Allowing these crops on the market will drive up use of 2,4-D, an antiquated and dangerous herbicide known to drift to non-target crops and is linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, and endocrine disruption.

Just as other herbicide-tolerant crops have led to an enormous increase in herbicide use — Roundup Ready crops have led to an increase of 527 million pounds of herbicides being applied between 1996 and 2011 — this next generation of herbicide-tolerant crops will lead to a huge increase in the use of 2,4-D. Numerous studies have shown the toxicity of 2,4-D. It is a chemical that is more volatile and drifts, threatening neighboring crops and creating unnecessary health risks to farmers and rural communities. Research shows that if 2,4-D corn is introduced, we could see more than 103 million pounds of 2,4-D applied to U.S. corn fields by 2019. By comparison, in 2010, about 3 million pounds were applied to U.S. corn fields.

Before USDA’s decision is final, join us in urging the agency to keep 2,4-D seed off the market and out of our rural communities and agricultural landscapes. Tell USDA that we don’t need more seed bred for a companion herbicide. We need more seed bred for low-input systems that are adapted to diverse regions, ecologies, climates, and markets.

COMMENTS ARE DUE MARCH 11, 2014.

If you’d like to submit individual comments, follow this link to Docket No. APHIS-2013-0042.

And if you’re a farmer, please consider signing the farmer statement below by adding your name, farm name, city, and state in the comments section of this blog post. We’ll deliver your name with this statement to the USDA. (Thanks to Pesticide Action Network for the statement.)

FARMER STATEMENT opposing 2,4-D & dicamba-resistant crops

We, the undersigned, call on USDA to protect farmer livelihoods and the health of communities across the country by keeping the next wave of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant crops off the market.

If approved, Dow’s 2,4-D-resistant corn and soybean seeds — as well as Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant soybean and cotton varieties — are expected to lead to dramatically increased use of herbicides. And 2,4-D and dicamba are likely to drift off target plants, harming farmers’ crops and livelihoods and threatening the health of those living and working nearby.

Already, widespread planting of Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready seeds has resulted in the development of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” — now covering more than 60 million acres of U.S. farmland. If Monsanto and Dow’s new GE seeds are introduced, more “superweeds” are expected alongside the surge in use of 2,4-D and dicamba. But the effects this time will be even more harmful, for these reasons:

  • Dicamba and 2,4-D herbicides are a threat to non-target plants, particularly specialty crops (like grapes, tomatoes, beans and sweet corn) and non-resistant corn, soy and cotton.
  • Dicamba and 2,4-D are likely to drift. Both spray drift and volatilization drift can devastate crops, adjacent ecosystems and landscapes. This poses a serious threat to rural economies and farmers growing vulnerable crops. Conventional farmers will lose crops, while organic farmers will lose crops and/or risk organic certification of those crops and the affected land, resulting in an economic unraveling of already-stressed rural communities.
  • 2,4-D drift threatens the health of rural communities. Numerous health studies have established links between 2,4-D exposure and birth defects, hormone disruption and cancers like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Children are particularly susceptible to its effects.

While Dow says it has developed a new less-volatile formulation, the older highly volatile formula is still widely available and its lower cost creates a powerful market incentive to continue its use. And we know from experience that regardless of idealized “best practices,” drift happens.

Instead of supporting technologies that rely on harmful drift-prone chemicals, we call on USDA to devote more attention to research, development and extension of safe and smart 21st century ecological approaches to weed management.

We urge USDA to reject Dow and Monsanto’s petitions for approval of 2,4-D- and dicamba-resistant seeds.

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3 Responses to Time to Speak Out Against 2,4-D Crops: Deadline March 11

  1. Cora Nichols says:

    Why are so many other countries so far ahead of us by protecting their populations from from these chemical infused seeds? What is wrong with our representatives??? Cant they read ???

  2. Joshua Carroll says:

    Enough is enough, keep these needless chemicals out of our food supply.

  3. Mike Meliher says:

    Stop all these atrocities. Keep it real or only feed it to your own family!

Comments are closed.