Issue Date: January 2, 2012
Drought-Tolerant Corn Gets USDA’s Okay
USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service has cleared the way for the sale of Monsanto’s corn that is genetically modified for drought tolerance. The product, MON 87460, is the first genetically engineered crop approved by USDA that contains a drought-tolerance trait. “Our drought system is designed to help farmers mitigate the risk of yield loss when experiencing drought stress,” Hobart Beeghly, U.S. product management lead at Monsanto, said in a statement. The western dryland region of the U.S. Corn Belt is expected to be the major area of adoption. Some environmental and consumer advocacy groups are disappointed by the decision, saying such a trait is not needed. “Classical crop breeding can produce drought-resistant crops that are cheaper and more effective than what Monsanto has come up with,” says Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Environment Program. Monsanto plans to conduct farm trials with the drought-tolerant corn this year.
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