(Appreciate this look at an issue that was not on my radar. Bleeding Heartland user black desert nomad has posted more details and references in the comments. - promoted by desmoinesdem)
The path to progress has little to do with speed but a heckuva lot to do with direction – an Iowa farmer said once as he described the act of stewarding his farm land to provide for his family and the next generation. I suggest the the USDA and all interested parties heed this advice in the consideration of the status of 2,4-D Resistant corn and soybeans, and I hope you will decline the petition. While this is only a single petition it is a strong signal to agriculture to continue on the pesticide-treadmill, whereby efficacy wanes and a new, often more potent, product is rolled out. And while the USDA and others may chose to take that path – it should be understood they are deciding for everyone and the destructive nature of 2,4-D will impact all farmers.
The use of herbicide resistant crops inevitably increases the use of the associated chemicals. For example, the volume of glyphosate deployed in Iowa has grown exponentially since 1996 and today is nearly unfathomable. The USGS has shown glyphosate is now persistent in Iowa rains and air. These technologies are dealt on a field by field basis but every acre of Iowa gets the treatment through air, water, and transport of crops. Now on the docket is a chemical that is arguably worse than glyphosate for human and ecosystem health. When 2, 4-D was championed the first time, Iowa's leading apple and grape industries vanished in less than 10 years. Today, Iowa's wine industry is reborn but its fate likely rests on the decision before the USDA.
Veteran farmers that routinely use 2,4-D today for corn production describe that they are very concerned about this pending biotech trait. If/when the herbicide resistant crops are ok'ed, the deployment of 2,4-D will be increased and perhaps more importantly it will be used later in the growing season when volitilization-potential is greatest due to heat and the respiration of mature crops. Dow Agroscience's insistence of lesser volatility in future formulations of 2,4-D is a tough pill to swallow when Iowans see the chemical-burnt windbreaks along field edges. Agrichemical drift is a common issue for rural citizens and the farmers of Iowa growing crops other than the resistant varieties of corn and soybeans.
I am an aspiring farmer and have been actively searching for farmland upon which to begin. Twice recently I have had interest to purchase – but the small (~ 50 acre) parcels have been too narrow to avoid chemical drift – and I have declined in anticipation of the decision on this petition. If 2,4-D resistant crops are approved by you and widely adopted by farmers, Iowa might no longer be a viable place to pursue the production of small grains, vegetables, orchards and pastures as I plan to. In order to preserve the rights and liberties of Iowa farmers to pursue diverse approaches to agriculture, I ask that you decline Dow Agroscience's petitions 09-233-01p, 09-349-01p, and 11-234-01p.