This Issue's Topics Include: Roundup Ready Lawsuit ~ Crop Insurance ~ 2010 Elections
Roundup Ready Lawsuit
On January 19, the plaintiffs in the Roundup Ready® lawsuit asked the U.S. District Court (9th Circuit)
for a preliminary injunction to stop the “further planting, cultivation, processing, or other use of Roundup
Ready sugar beets or sugar beet seeds, including the flowering of any sugar beet seed crop, until the environmental impact statement (‘EIS’) has been completed and finally approved as required by the
National Environmental Policy Act (‘NEPA’)”. They have requested a March 5 date for Judge Jeffrey
White to hear their argument.
The plaintiffs, who oppose biotech sugarbeets, are asking the court to take radical action that would shut down half of America's sugar supply, causing severe dislocations in the domestic supply of sugar for all consumers. There also would be disastrous impacts to 10,000 sugarbeet growers, with collateral damage to the economy in 10 states, along with processors and seed companies.
The plaintiffs have waited five years after deregulation and two years after filing their lawsuit, and now are trying to claim that irreparable harm is imminent from a product that has been widely and safely used on 95% of the nation’s sugarbeet acreage. This unreasonable request is not justified by the evidence or by any real or potential threat. We look forward to confronting it in the appropriate forum for pending litigation, which is in court.
The U.S. Supreme Court has also agreed to look at issues involving The 9th Circuit Court’s handling of the Roundup Ready alfalfa case. There are some issues in this case that could impact how our case is handled.
Last November, the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced a price election for the 2010 sugarbeet crop at $41 per ton. This is clearly below anticipated grower returns, given the stronger market conditions we see for the next year.
We met with the RMA administrator and his deputy in January to discuss the correction of this initial
estimate. We have supplied them with timely market information to justify an upward increase in the price. A final determination is expected in early February.
The Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts to fill the Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy
has breathed new life into the Republican recruitment process and set off alarms for the Democrats.
For many years now, we have had an almost equally divided political base in this country, evidenced
by such close presidential elections. The independent-minded voter, who is not strongly aligned with either
party, is seldom happy with those in power and votes for anyone who is better (or different) than who they
have. Thus, we get a pendulum effect with each election.
The real question is, “How many seats do the Democrats lose in the mid-term election?” The impatience and rage of the American voter will have a big impact on what is accomplished in 2010. Watch for surprise retirements in the weeks ahead as an indication of the battle on the campaign trail. The “silly season” of the November elections has officially begun.
Luther Markwart, author of Dateline Washington, is executive vice president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.