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North Dakota State University facing liability with genetically modified crops, say farm groups

(Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- Farm and community organizations yesterday wrote to the president of North Dakota State University about what they saw as the potential liability for the university with the possible release of Monsanto's wheat genetically engineered to resist the glyphosate herbicide, the active ingredient in RoundUp.

NDSU, through RoughRider Genetics, has already released Roundup Ready soybeans and is contemplating releasing Roundup Ready wheat as well.

Farmers Legal Action Group sent the letter explaining NDSUís potential legal liability in releasing genetically modified wheat, to President Chapman and other university and state officials at the request of Dakota Resource Council (DRC) and Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society (NPSAS).

"The issues raised in our letter," said David Moeller, lawyer with Farmers Legal Action Group, a nonprofit law center dedicated to providing legal services to family farmers and their rural communities in order to help keep family farmers on the land, "are serious considerations with the potential of doing dramatic financial harm to NDSU and the state of North Dakota if genetically modified wheat is released prematurely or at all."

"NDSU is facing serious liability issues," said Todd Leake, a farmer from Emerado and chair of the Dakota Resource Council's food safety task force."The University is too important to farmers in North Dakota to ignore the potential problems. Genetically modified wheat is very different from the glyphosate tolerant soybeans NDSU now sells if for no other reason than it is an export commodity and our export customers do not want it. They have the ability to keep it out.Ē

To see the letter, go to http://www.flaginc.org/news/news.htm#20040224