About Dow's Genetically Engineered (GE) Corn and Soybeans

ABOUT DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC HERBICIDE RESISTANT CORN AND SOYBEANS

Dow AgroSciences, based in Indianapolis, IN, specializes in developing agricultural chemicals such as pesticides, as well as seeds and plant biotechnology products. Dow AgroSciences (Dow) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company.

Dow submitted three petitions for nonregulated status for varieties of herbicide resistant corn and soybean plants. Dow’s corn (DAS–40278–9) has been genetically engineered for resistance to certain broadleaf herbicides (particularly the herbicide 2,4-D) and resistance to grass herbicides, such as quizalofop-p-ethyl. Dow’s soybean (DAS–68416–4) has also been genetically engineered for resistance to certain broadleaf herbicides (particularly 2,4-D) and the nonselective herbicide glufosinate. Dow’s soybean (DAS–44406–6) has been genetically engineered for resistance to certain broadleaf herbicides (particularly 2,4-D) and the nonselective herbicides glyphosate and glufosinate.

2,4-D is a selective aryloxyalkanoic acid known also as a 'phenoxy herbicide', which has been used since the 1940's as a pre-plant or post-emergent herbicide to control broadleaf (dicot) weeds on a broad range of crop and non-crop sites, including cornfields. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered 2,4-D herbicide to control broadleaf weeds on a variety of food/feed sites including field, fruit, and vegetable crops. Currently, 2,4-D is registered for pre-plant and post-emergent application on corn and pre-plant application on soybean. Residents and professional applicators may use 2, 4-D on home lawns. It is one of the most widely used herbicides to control weeds.

Since 2006, APHIS has authorized Dow to conduct 339 field tests of 2,4-D resistant soybean in 32 states and Puerto Rico, distributed over 2,544 release locations totaling 36,386 acres, which represent a diverse range of environmental conditions where soybean is currently grown and bred.

Since 2006, APHIS has authorized Dow to conduct 83 field tests of 2,4-D resistant corn in 27 states and Puerto Rico, distributed over 1,475 release locations totaling 29,627 acres, which represent a diverse range of environmental conditions where corn is currently grown and bred.

ABOUT DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC PETITIONS FOR NONREGULATED STATUS

On December 15, 2009, APHIS received a petition from Dow seeking nonregulated status for its GE 2,4-D resistant soybean variety. On August 22, 2011, APHIS received another petition from Dow seeking nonregulated status for a different variety of GE 2,4-D and glufosinate resistant soybean. APHIS also received a petition on August 21, 2009, from Dow seeking nonregulated status for its GE 2,4-D and ACCase-Inhibitor resistant corn variety. Nonregulated status would allow Dow to move and plant the crops freely without APHIS regulation.

APHIS published notices in the Federal Register for each petition advising the public that APHIS had received the petition and was seeking public comments on the petition. The notices for the first two petitions also sought comment on our preliminary plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) and our draft environmental assessment (EA) for each petition; we had not yet published a PPRA or EA for the third petition, so that notice sought comment on the petition, only.

APHIS received approximately 8,200 comments, including petitions signed by more than 400,000 people in response to these documents. Comments range from the importance of making additional herbicide resistant crops available for producers to focusing on the potential increased volume of herbicides containing 2,4-D and their movement onto non-target crops in surrounding areas, as well as the potential for the development of herbicide resistant weeds.