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June 11, 2013   Email to Friend 

Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406
June 11, 2013

North Alabama farmers attended a "scoping" meeting at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge to discuss planting biotech crops on national refuges in the Southeast. From left are Limestone County farmer Alan Marsh, Morgan County farmer and Alabama Farmers Federation State Board Member Ted Grantland and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Environmental Policy Act Coordinator Richard Warner.
DECATUR, Ala., - Farmers have until July 28 to comment on planting biotech crops on national refuges in the Southeast. Alabama Farmers Federation State Board Member Ted Grantland was among farmers who gathered June 10 at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Decatur for a public meeting on the issue.

“This affects our farm,” said Grantland, who farms land in the refuge. “The U.S. has the most abundant, safest and cheapest food supplies in the world. American farmers...work hard to feed the world. Biotech and genetically modified crops contribute to that.”

Refuges and farmers benefit from cooperative agreements allowing farmers to harvest a portion of planted crops while leaving the rest for wildlife habitat, feed and weed control.

Farmers have planted biotech crops on refuges since the mid-1990s. However, a 2012 settlement between U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and environmental groups requires additional studies on the impact of biotech crops in the Southeast.

Biotech crops are allowed on Midwestern refuges, after a judge there ruled studies sufficiently proved their benefits.

“We encourage Federation members to comment on this important issue,” said Federation Director of National Legislative Programs Mitt Walker. “Genetically modified crops increase efficiency and are approved by the USDA and other federal agencies. Unfortunately, several groups are using government red tape to challenge their use once again. Farmers need to let their voices be heard.” 

The Southeast has nearly 4 million acres of national refuge land, with 44,000 acres, or 1 percent, used for farming.

For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/site/fwsregion4gmcpeis.

To submit comments, visit http://bit.ly/12DQGXr, email fw4_gmcpea@fws.gov, or write NEPA Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Center Drive, Suite 400, Atlanta, GA 30345.

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