After one of the most thorough reviews of biotech since the tech was first commercialized in the 1990s, USDA has issued its decision regarding deregulating Dow AgroSciences' Enlist corn and soybean traits in the United States.
The Enlist traits are part of the Enlist Weed Control System, a new trait and herbicide technology designed to take on herbicide-resistant weeds. USDA's decision applies to Enlist corn, Enlist soybean and Enlist E3 soybean traits. Enlist E3 soybeans were developed through a collaboration between Dow AgroSciences and MS Technologies.
Next step in the process is for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to approve Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits. Approval of Enlist Duo is expected in the near future, according to the company.
Resistant weeds have doubled since 2009, according to a Dow AgroSciences media release. And those weeds infest about 70 million acres of American farmland. Farmers in areas of severe infestations have had to resort to older, less effective, farming practices.
In the press statement announcing USDA's latest move, Tim Hassinger, president, Dow AgroSciences says: "Enlist will help farmers increase their productivity to meet the growing demand for a safe and affordable food supply. We've used the latest science and technology to address problem weeds. Enlist will be a very effective solution and we're pleased to have this technology one step closer to the farmgate."
Dow AgroSciences will release commercial intentions for Enlist in 2015 once EPA has issued its decision on Enlist Duo herbicide.