More than 15,000 petition signatures from a wide cross section of U.S. agriculture were filed with USDA in support of the Dow AgroSciences Enlist corn and soybean trait, and the comment period for the USDA Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the trait is now closed.
Pending regulatory approvals, Dow AgroSciences expects to launch Enlist corn and soybeans in 2015, with cotton to follow in 2016.
The comment period for the Enlist DEIS drew very high support numbers from farmers, weed scientists, specialty crop growers, members of Congress, state legislators and the public – among the highest response in recent history for a new biotechnology product. Growers, representatives from state agribusiness councils and a university scientist also testified in support of the technology during a USDA virtual public meeting in late January.
The Enlist technology will allow growers to battle glyphosate-resistant weeds with a complementary mode of action using new 2,4-D-based chemistry for broader spectrum control.
USDA produced an extensive DEIS document with a well-supported environmental evaluation of the Enlist traits that also considered existing farming practices and potential alternatives. USDA noted in the DEIS that its Preferred Alternative is to approve Enlist corn and soybean crops.
A preliminary review of comments posted to the USDA docket indicate no new questions have been raised that haven’t been addressed in the DEIS or the environmental assessments of the Enlist traits. USDA is expected to review the comments it has received in the coming weeks, then will issue a Final Environmental Impact Statement.
“We appreciate the significant effort from USDA to produce this comprehensive review of the Enlist corn and soybean traits,” says Antonio Galindez, president and CEO, Dow AgroSciences. “The conclusion of this comment period marks an important milestone for Enlist. We’re one step closer to helping American farmers solve the tremendous challenge they’re facing to control weeds.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will open a comment period for Enlist Duo herbicide in the coming weeks.