USDA seeks comment on Monsanto's latest herbicide-tolerant corn

By Sarah Gonzalez

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2015-USDA is seeking public comment on a Monsanto petition to approve corn genetically engineered to resist the herbicides dicamba and glufosinate.

The petition will be available for a 60-day comment period, with a deadline ending Oct. 13. Monsanto submitted its appeal to deregulate the product to USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on April 23.

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The product, known as Third-Generation Herbicide Tolerant Corn, is the next step in Monsanto's pipeline for herbicide-tolerant corn products.

Monsanto says the new product “will offer maize growers multiple choices for effective weed management including tough to control and herbicide resistant broadleaf weeds.”

The company is expanding its herbicide system, which is anchored by the herbicide glyphosate, branded as Roundup, and its accompanying "Roundup Ready" glyphosate-resistant crops. Glyphosate-resistant weeds are estimated to infest more than 84 million acres of farmland nationwide.

USDA announced in January its regulatory approval of Monsanto's genetically engineered cotton and soybean crops resistant to dicamba, which are part of the Roundup Ready Xtend system.

In November of 2011, APHIS announced it would begin accelerating the overall timeline for biotechnology approvals by standardizing and streamlining its process. Under the updated program, APHIS intends to decide whether a petition is complete, which is the first step of the decision-making process, within three months of receiving the petition.

After APHIS makes a petition available for public comment, it prepares an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Plant Pest Risk Assessment (PPRA).

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