Press release: Industry plans for the release of GM alfalfa concerns NB Farmers (en anglais seulement)

Press release: Industry plans for the release of GM alfalfa concerns NB Farmers (en anglais seulement)

March 14, 2013


Sackville, NB – Farmers and consumers in the Maritimes and across Canada are
concerned about industry plans to prepare for the release of genetically modified
(GM) alfalfa.

A company called Forage Genetics International has applied Monsanto’s
genetically modified Roundup Ready (herbicide resistant) technology to alfalfa.
GM alfalfa was deemed safe for production and consumption in Canada in 2005,
but the varieties have to be registered before it is legal to sell them in Canada.
With a growing season approaching, the agricultural industry fears final approval
of this unwanted technology could be requested any day now.

“As an organic producer in New Brunswick, I am concerned about loss of control
over my land, loss of organic certification,” explains Murray Bunnett of Murray
Bunnett Family Farms. “GM alfalfa will cross-pollinate with non-GM and organic
alfalfa, and this will threaten the very livelihoods of many New Brunswick organic
and conventional farms.”

Alfalfa is a highly valued crop in both organic and conventional farming systems.
Harvested as hay, alfalfa is used as high-protein feed for dairy cows, beef cattle,
and other livestock. It is also touted as the most important nitrogen-fixing
perennial, contributing to soil fertility and quality, while also naturally
suppressing weeds. It is not only important to domestic markets, but is also a
significant export crop for Canada, and many of these export markets have non-
GM policies.

The greatest concerns about GM alfalfa relate to the fact that it is an insect-
pollinated crop, meaning that pollen from GM alfalfa could easily contaminate
organic and non-GM alfalfa.

The Canadian Seed Trade Association is attempting to develop a “coexistence”
plan for GM alfalfa, but this is widely viewed as an impossible goal. Given that the
likelihood of contamination is so high and the economic risk so great for both
organic and conventional farmers, the National Farmers Union in New
Brunswick and the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN)
strongly oppose the approval of GM alfalfa.


About NFU NB
The National Farmers Union in New Brunswick is one of two accredited general farm
organizations in the province. The NFU has represented farm families in all agricultural
commodities across Canada for over forty years. Member families of the NFU believe the
family farm is the most appropriate and efficient means of agricultural production. Its
members work together to achieve farm policies which will ensure dignity and security of
income for farm families, while enhancing the land for future generations. For more
information about the NFU NB, visit

Since 2000, ACORN has been the key organization for information on organic
agriculture, eating organics, and connecting all the parts together in order to advance the
local organic sector in Atlantic Canada. For more information, please visit

For inquiries, please contact:
Theresa Richards
ACORN Executive Director, 506-536-2867 or 1-888-322-2676,

Melanie Jellett
NFU in NB Executive Director, 506-538-1189,

To download the press release and for a complete list of press releases, click here.

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