Statewide: December 1, 2010 Archive
Posted at 10:38 AM on December 1, 2010
by David Cazares
Filed under: Southeast Minnesota
Elizabeth Baier, who covers Southeast Minnesota for Minnesota Public Radio News, reviews stories on her beat during Morning Edition with Cathy Wurzer.
Elizabeth discussed efforts in Rochester to imitate the popular Uptown entertainment district near downtown Minneapolis; the Elk Run bio-business center project underway in Pine Island; and the $8.8 million Minnesota will receive from the federal government to help water quality in the Mississippi River.
A federal judge in California dealt another blow to genetically modified sugarbeets this week. The judge ruled Monsanto must destroy seedlings planted to produce seed for
the herbicide resistant beet plants. Monsanto says it will appeal.
Earlier this year the same judge ruled the USDA did not perform proper environmental review before approving Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugarbeets. Farmers have embraced the genetically modified beets because it's easier to control weeds in their fields and that means a bigger crop at harvest.
Minnesota and North Dakota grow more than half the sugarbeets produced in the nation, and for the past couple of years, more than 90 percent of all the beets planted were the herbicide resistant variety.
As a result, the companies that produce seeds that aren't genetically modified cut back their production because of falling demand for their seeds.
It's now looking like the legal case will drag well into next year, so farmers who want to be sure they can plant sugarbeets next year will need to buy seeds that are NOT genetically modified.
Companies don't talk much about seed supply for obvious competitive reasons, but industry insiders expect a scramble as farmers try to lock up the best varieties which might be in limited supply. This is the time of year farmers typically buy seed for next spring.