Ruling Could Hit Area Sugar Beet Growers Hard 8-31-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Ruling Could Hit Area Sugar Beet Growers Hard 8-31-2010

It's the earliest harvest in record for many sugar beet growers across Mid-Michigan, but next year's crop could look dramatically different.
This comes after a judge halts further use of genetically altered seeds that many farmers in this area already use.
According to the American Sugar Beet Growers Association, it makes up 95 percent of the production in North America.
Recently, a judge ruled to stop the use of the genetically altered, or Roundup Ready, sugar beets.
The ruling stems from lawsuits over the past two years.
Now the decision goes to the United States Department of Agriculture for review.
The USDA could allow growers to use the seeds, but if the ruling stands as is, the economic impact could be felt in the area.
"Clearly this would have a very, very tough impact on our industry, but again I think the message to growers and the communities is you just need to be patient," said Luther Markwart, vice president of the American Sugar Beet Growers Association. "Just let USDA sort this out and they will have to figure out how we [can] proceed."
Growers said the genetically modified seeds make it easier for them to grow the beets and they also said it allows them to use less pesticide.
TV5 tried to contact some area growers on Tuesday to get their opinions, but they are all being told not to talk to the media because this is a sensitive issue.

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