Last week, the Washington State Department of Agriculture began investigating the case of a farmer whose alfalfa hay was rejected for export for containing a genetically modified trait that was not supposed to be in his crop.
Genetically modified alfalfa is approved for commercial production in the United States, but many sensible foreign and domestic buyers require non-GMO crops. Alfalfa, like many other crops, was genetically modified by Monsanto to be resistant to its herbicide, Roundup. It was approved in 2011 by the USDA to be planted without restrictions.
The department's testing ended Friday and has confirmed that the farmer's alfalfa was contaminated with the genetically modified trait.
Many farmers in neighboring Oregon lost export sales when GMO wheat was discovered in a field in April. Washington's alfalfa farmers can only hope that they will fare better in the near future, as GMO crops continue to proliferate unchecked.