Updated with additional comment 10:54 a.m. Sept. 18.
The USDA on Wednesday issued its decision 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 that can control herbicide-resistant and tough weeds. USDA's decision applies to the Enlist corn, Enlist soybean and Enlist E3 soybean traits.
Enlist E3 soybeans are being developed through a collaboration between MS Technologies and Dow AgroSciences.
With the deregulation, the company now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits. Approval for Enlist Duo is expected in the near future.
"Enlist will help farmers increase their productivity to meet the growing demand for a safe and affordable food supply," said Tim Hassinger, president, Dow AgroSciences. "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."
National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman said the approval has been a hard-fought battle.
"It is important that farmers continue to gain access to the tools that they need in the field through a science-based, timely regulatory system. We look forward to similar results for other herbicide systems in the future," he noted in a NCGA statement.
In addition to supporting USDA's deregulation of the crops, American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser noted in a Thursday statement that continued focus is on the agency to move forward with approving the Enlist Duo herbicide and on exporting markets to approve new biotech advancements.
"USDA deserves a great deal of credit for recognizing delays in the biotech approvals process and working to address them," Gaesser said. "Our attention now shifts to final EPA registration of the Enlist Duo herbicide, and to approvals in key soybean export markets. For new tools like Enlist Duo to be implemented and realized, we need to have approvals in key U.S. soy export markets since approximately 60% of the U.S. soy crop is exported."
Commercial intentions for Enlist in 2015 will be provided after the EPA has issued its decision on Enlist Duo herbicide, Dow said.