Potential Introduction of GM Alfalfa Raises Some Concerns
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
The long debate over genetically modified organisms (GMO) versus organic crops seems to have reignited with the talk of the introduction of Monsanto’s herbicide tolerant genetically modified (GM) alfalfa into the Canadian market.
The debate is heating up because in November, the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) will be holding meetings with the Forage Genetics International to examine the status of the GM alfalfa introduction in the US and start drafting a coexistence plan for the introduction of the herbicide tolerant alfalfa in Canada.
The Canadian Organic Federation and the National Farmers Union (NFU) have been vocal about the GM crop arguing that organic crops cannot coexist, simply because cross-pollination between crops is inevitable, which places an organic farmer’s certification requirements at risk, as there is zero tolerance. The NFU held a rally to raise awareness about the issue in Kitchener, Ont. in efforts to stop the introduction of the GM alfalfa.
Alfalfa is a perennial forage plant in the pea family and is a major forage crop Canada and the US. Alfalfa is harvested for hay and is cut and bailed and serves as an excellent source of protein and other vitamins and minerals for horses, beef cattle, sheep and other livestock.