Dow Announces Delay of 2,4-D Corn Production

For Immediate Release:  January 17, 2013
Contact:  Paul Towers, 916-216-1082, ptowers@panna.org

Dow Announces Delay of 2,4-D Corn Production

Oakland, CA – Today, Dow AgroSciences announced that it will delay sale of its new and highly controversial 2,4-D resistant genetically engineered (GE) corn, “Enlist” until the 2014 planting season. Previously hoping to market its product in the 2013 planting season, the company has had to pull back in the face of public opposition and no regulatory decision from USDA.

Instead, Dow will publicize its 2,4-D corn by establishing five new “technology centers” in the Midwest and South and helping to set up over 100 field plots at various seed company and retail locations.

The delay follows a year in which over 400,000 American farmers, doctors and public health professionals and members of farm labor, consumer and sustainable farming groups voiced their concerns with the new seed. Organic and conventional farmers have cited in particular the threat to their crops posed by 2,4-D drift. All broadleaf plants—including soybean, cotton, fruit and vegetable crops—are highly susceptible to damage by even small amounts of 2,4-D.

PAN’s Senior Scientist, Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, noted:

“With this move to plow ahead with field trials of its new hazardous 2,4-D-resistant corn, even before the product has been cleared by our public agencies, Dow is clearly trying to hitch its cart before the horse and guarantee itself a future market.

This is corporate irresponsibility at its worst: Dow is stubbornly and irresponsibly putting its ambitions for future profits over the health and livelihoods of American farmers and rural communities.

Clearly the fierce opposition last year from the American public—including a group of Iowa farmers just last month—has had an effect. USDA has remained unusually silent, and Dow must be getting worried that it might not recoup its expensive investment in this technology.

The irony of Dow's response is evident. Weed resistance to chemical herbicides is one of the biggest problems farmers now face, and that is a direct result of converting so much of our farmland to herbicide-resistant GE crops. We need to get out of this futile chemical arms race fast, and get serious about building our national capacity in sustainable ecological weed management.”