Statement by the Sugar Industry Biotech Council on Lawsuit by Groups Opposed to Biotechnology
January 28, 2008
The Sugar Industry Biotech Council and its members are thoroughly committed to the safety and stewardship of crops improved through biotechnology. Roundup Ready sugar beets offer significant economic benefits to growers and the sugar industry along with well-established environmental benefits.
Sugar beets are an important crop, planted on nearly 1.3 million acres in the United States annually. Sugar beets increase geographic diversity in sugar production; the 2007 crop in the U.S. produced 31.6 million tons. Sugar beets improved through biotechnology produce sugar that is identical at the molecular level to sugar produced from sugar cane and other sugar beets.
Weed control is one of the greatest challenges for sugar beet growers. The use of Roundup Ready sugar beets results in improved weed control and substantially benefits farm families and cooperatives. The economic impact of this crop is significant as more than 31,000 people are employed in growing, harvesting and processing sugar beets.
The value of sugar beet crops and their products is critically important to rural communities and their economies. The industry contributes billions of dollars to the economy every year, primarily in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming.
Roundup Ready sugar beets have been approved for production in the United States and Canada since 2005, and sugar beet seed producers, farmers and the related industry have been planning and moving forward in reliance on that approval. In addition, food and feed products derived from Roundup Ready sugar beets have been approved by numerous regulatory agencies around the world – including the European Union and Japan – affirming the safety of the production and consumption of commodities derived from Roundup Ready sugar beets.
Roundup Ready sugar beets allow farmers to control weeds in a more environmentally sustainable way. By reducing the number of trips across the field, Roundup Ready sugar beets also have the potential to save nearly 1.7 million gallons of fuel each year and reduce the associated emissions of greenhouse gases. Using Roundup Ready technology, sugar beet farmers will finally be able to adopt reduced tillage farming practices, which have been shown to greatly reduce soil erosion.