July 25, 2014

Alfalfa

GM Alfalfa Release Delayed

Breaking News, March 28, 2014: GM Alfalfa Release Delayed! Your actions are working. Thanks to all your protest, we have kept GM alfalfa off the market this spring! The company Forage Genetics International (FGI) will not release genetically modified (GM) alfalfa this spring, thanks to farmer and consumer opposition. Your continued protest, culminating in last year’s national Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa, has delayed the release of GM alfalfa in Canada. Thank you for taking effective action with CBAN!

The corporate decision to delay the introduction of GM alfalfa was confirmed in the Western Producer newspaper and builds upon recent statements made by seed companies in Quebec and Ontario.

Even though the Canadian government has approved GM herbicide-tolerant alfalfa, it has not yet been sold in Canada. The GM alfalfa uses Monsanto’s GM “Roundup Ready” herbicide tolerant trait, and would be sold by Forage Genetics International.

The industry launched a “coexistence plan” last year that failed to allay concerns about contamination from GM alfalfa, and farmer and consumer protest continues.

Donate today! Your continued action and support is needed as we work to protect family farms from GM alfalfa contamination. Join us.

Press Release - National Farmers Union - March 28, 2014:Company right to not release GM alfalfa this spring, says NFU"FGI's decision for this year is the right decision. Even so, NFU members will continue to pressure both industry and the government to stop the release of GM alfalfa,” said Jan Slomp, NFU President and Alberta dairy farmer. “The federal government should de-register all varieties of RR alfalfa."

"We don’t want it or need it, and we will not surrender to the interests of big seed and biotech companies” - Dave Lewington, Ontario vegetable farmer and grassfed beef producer.

Farmers in Canada do not need or want GM alfalfa. The introduction of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant (Roundup Ready) alfalfa would have serious negative impacts on many different types of farmers and farming systems, both conventional and organic. Because alfalfa is a perennial crop pollinated by bees, GM contamination is inevitable. GM alfalfa was approved in Canada in 2005 but is not yet on the market. The company Forage Genetics International says it plans to release GM alfalfa in the spring of 2014.

Alfalfa (hay and pasture) is used as high-protein feed for animals like dairy cows, beef cattle and sheep and is also used to build up nutrients in the soil, making it particularly important for organic farming of grains and vegetables. If introduced, GM alfalfa would ruin export markets for alfalfa products, and threaten the future organic food and farming in the North America.

Take Action

Information Resources

Industry "Coexistence Plan" is a Gateway to Contamination

The Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) and its corporate members including Monsanto, Pioneer and Forage Genetics International are actively trying to get support for the release of GM alfalfa. CSTA has released a "coexistence plan" for GM alfalfa to try to justify releasing the seed into the environment. However, the only way to stop contamination from GM alfalfa, is to stop GM alfalfa!

Because alfalfa is a perennial plant that is pollinated by bees, genetically modified alfalfa will inevitably cross-pollinate with non-GM and organic alfalfa, threatening the livelihoods of family farmers across Canada. Prairie farmers who export alfalfa products are vocally opposed to GM alfalfa so the industry is now trying to introduce GM alfalfa in Eastern Canada first.

Take More Action

Updates

October 7, 2013: Ontario’s Minister of the Environment has denied a request to regulate an environmental assessment of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa. The request for an assessment process was made by two farmers in Ontario, on behalf of many. The Minister decided that "a new provincial regulation making activities on the sale and distribution of GM seed subject to the EAA [Environmental Assessment Act] would overlap with the existing federal regulation. Therefore, the public interest does not warrant an EBR [Environmental Bill of Rights] review by the ministry."

Response to the GM Alfalfa petition from the Minister of Agriculture.

June 10 2013: The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) has uncovered that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has recently approved the first variety of genetically engineered alfalfa: a herbicide tolerant (Roundup Ready) alfalfa from Monsanto/Forage Genetics International. This means that one variety of GM alfalfa is now legal to sell in Canada - it is not yet on the market. We need to stop GM alfalfa seeds from being sold in Canada.

After the Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa on April 9 2013, the company Forage Genetics International stated that it would not put any GM alfalfa seeds on the market this spring. The company could, however, release GM alfalfa whenever it decides. CBAN is closely monitoring this situation.

The Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, chose not to intervene to stop the registration of GM alfalfa. The Minister received almost 8000 email letters asking him to stop the release GM alfalfa and on April 9, people rallied in 38 communities across Canada. Most of the community actions took place outside local constituency offices of federal Members of Parliament and many petitions were presented to MPs that have since been presented by them in the House of Commons. Your outreach to your Members of Parliament has been very influential. As CBAN continues to implement various strategic work to stop the release of GM alfalfa, we ask you to continue your communication with your Member of Parliament. The Day of Action showed us that many MPs understand your concerns.

Thank you everyone for your action on April 9 - Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa!

More Resources

What are Farmers Saying about GM Alfalfa?

Conventional and organic farmers agree that GM alfalfa is not wanted or needed: What conventional alfalfa producers told the House of Commons Agriculture Committee, June 7, 2010

Harmony Milk and Stop GM Alfalfa

Harmony Organic Dairy Co-op says Stop GM Alfalfa

Read the list of 127 farmer and consumers groups that say no to GE alfalfa.

Read the 2-page position paper on alfalfa from the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate.

Before the U.S. decided to allow GM alfalfa plantings in early 2011, groups in Canada sent their comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in response to their Draft Environmental Impact Statement on alfalfa. Read the about on the predicted impacts of GM alfalfa and the experience of GM contamination in Canada:

Share the video with your friends and family, screen the video at community events and film fests! You can request the file from us for screening. Click here to find out more information about the people behind the video.

The Campaign So Far

On April 9, 2013, thousands of people, in 38 communities across Canada, rallied as part of the Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa, called for by the National Farmers Union-Ontario. You can view the photo report here. After the Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa, the company Forage Genetics International stated that it would not put any GM alfalfa seeds on the market this spring. The company could, however, release GM alfalfa whenever it decides. CBAN is closely monitoring this situation.

Press Release - April 2, 2013: New Report Warns of Inevitable Contamination if GM Alfalfa Released in Ontario

Press Release, Oct 24, 2012 - National Farmers Union, Grey County Local 344 and Region 3 Ontario - Farmers Protest “Industry Spin” Designed to Facilitate Licensing of GM Alfalfa in Ontario: Policy of coexistence of GM alfalfa is “utterly absurd", say local farmers

Before the Federal election in Canada, May 2011: Conservative Members of Parliament purposefully delayed a vote (twice) on a motion for a moratorium on GM alfalfa at Agriculture Committee meetings. The Liberals, NDP and Bloc Members all supported the moratorium so if the Conservatives had allowed the vote, the motion would have been approved and the motion would have passed to the House of Commons for a vote. The motion was proposed by the Liberal members of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee after huge public pressure to support Bill C-474 which would have required an assessment of export market harm before any new GM seed was permitted.

The US approved plantings of GM alfalfa in January 2011. In 2007 a judge ruled that the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approval of GM alfalfa was illegal and ordered the Department to conduct an environmental risk assessment to look into farmer concerns about contamination. In December 2009, the USDA released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for comment (this is the first time it has conducted this type of analysis for any GM crop). Canadian groups sent in their comments (see above).

Join the Campaign

Invitation from the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate:

The commercialization of genetically modified alfalfa -- GM Alfalfa -- planned by Monsanto and Forage Genetics International, would have a severe, negative impact on Canadian agriculture, markets, and our environment. A united effort by agriculture producer groups, consumer and environmental organizations, as well as concerned individuals, will prevent this from happening. A similar campaign stopped GM wheat in 2004.

This is your invitation to join together to put the brakes on GM Alfalfa.

We invite all organizations, producer associations, companies and community groups to endorse the "No to GM Alfalfa" campaign by signing on to the following statement (Your group’s name will be used in a list of groups that state opposition to GM Alfalfa):

  • We oppose the sale, trade and production of GMO Alfalfa in Canada.
  • We ask the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to reassess its approval for environmental release of GMO Alfalfa.
  • We want the public to understand the hazards, costs and market losses that would result if GMO Alfalfa were released into our environment.

Sign the statement here! or email coordinator@cban.ca for more info.

See the list of groups that have endorsed the campaign.

The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD) is a Member of CBAN. SOD is the umbrella group for the organic sector in Saskatchewan. In 2001 the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund Committee was established by SOD in order to protect organic farms and food from contamination by GMOs. The OAPF Committee provided support to the legal action against Monsanto and Bayer to bring about an injunction to stop the commercialization of GMO wheat, and to make the biotech companies liable for losses to organic farmers due to contamination of certified organic crops and fields by GMO canola. In 2004 Monsanto withdrew its application to have GMO wheat approved in Canada.

For more information contact:
OAPF Chairperson, Arnold Taylor at (306) 252-2075, or Lucy Sharratt at the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) (613) 241-2267 ext.25, or coordinator@cban.ca

Get your free CBAN E-News. Sign up now.
Bee says Join us to Stop GM Alfalfa

Left menu