I've been raising corn and soybeans on my family's farm for 35 years. I want to tell you that this nation's farmland — our countryside — is already being sprayed with too many toxic pesticides. While I don't raise corn and soybeans that are genetically modified (GMOs), most corn and soybeans are GMOs engineered to be herbicide-resistant; they lead to more spraying of weedkillers and are accelerating the industrialization of agriculture and the extinction of family farms.
Now, Dow and USDA hope to quietly approve a new line of seeds genetically engineered to be herbicide resistant, basically swapping Monsanto’s RoundUp (glyphosate) out with an even worse weedkiller (2,4-D).
We have until April 27, when the public comment period closes, to tell USDA this is a bad idea.
We saw the disastrous results from Monsanto’s line of “RoundUp Ready” corn and soybeans. Since corn and soybeans are often rotated year after year, millions of acres of corn and soybeans were drenched with glyphosate. Some weeds survived and their seeds then started growing populations of superweeds that glyphosate won't kill, leading to "solutions" like spraying at higher rates and adding other chemicals to the spray tank.
Now, guess what the chemical industry has in mind to solve this huge new weed problem their products created? More of the same! They’re working to get approval of more genetically engineered crops that are resistant to other powerful and toxic weedkillers like 2,4-D.
Dow AgroScience, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical, wants to market a new genetically engineered corn that will be resistant to its brand of the very powerful and toxic 2,4-D. This weedkiller was one of the components of Agent Orange that our military sprayed to defoliate forests in the Vietnam War.
Many farmers are frightened that the drift from increased applications of 2,4-D threatens to damage their crops, particularly fruits and vegetables, and even make organic crops unmarketable. I worry about all the drift and fumes getting into our eyes and lungs, especially for kids, since 2,4-D is linked to human health effects like reproductive toxicity, endocrine (hormone system) disruption and cancer.
If USDA gives Dow permission to market this high-tech seed, even more toxic chemicals will cover the countryside, pollute its air and water and drifting onto neighboring crops. And of course, weeds will eventually become resistant to 2,4-D too, for which the chemical companies will design more genetically modified varieties and toxic pesticides.
Please send comments before April 27 to USDA expressing your belief that the new Dow 2,4-D resistant corn should not be allowed on the market. You will be doing something important for both farmers and consumers, not to mention our children's planet and their health.
USDA, don't approve Dow's 2,4-D-resistant corn!
We are writing to urge you not to deregulate a new generation of genetically engineered crops designed to survive repeated spraying of the herbicide 2,4-D. Simply put, 2,4-D resistant seeds are a bad idea. Allowing these seeds on the market will drive up use of an antiquated, dangerous herbicide that is associated with cancer, reproductive toxicity and endocrine disruption.
The history of glyphosate use in conjunction with RoundUp Ready crops tells us that widespread planting of 2,4-D resistant corn will lead inevitably to a surge in 2,4-D application.
2,4-D is well known to drift, both directly and through volatilization. This will devastate adjacent ecosystems and poses a very real threat to rural economies and farmers growing non-2,4-D-resistant crops. Conventional farmers will lose crops while organic farmers will lose both crops and certification, resulting in an economic unraveling of already-stressed rural communities.
2,4-D resistant corn follows the same short-sighted approach to farming taken by Monsanto's "RoundUp Ready" corn, which was engineered to resist glyphosate. The RoundUp Ready seed line is responsible for new breeds of superweeds and superbugs that have afflicted millions of acres of farmland across the Midwest and South. Please don't make the same mistake in approving 2,4-D-tolerant GE crops.
We urge USDA to reject Dow’s petition for approval of its 2,4-D resistant seed lines (whether corn, soy or cotton) and to devote more attention instead to research and development of safe and smart 21st century ecological approaches to weed management. These approaches can protect public health, conserve the environment and assure sustainable crop production by America’s farmers for generations to come.