Should genetically modified crops be used in wildlife refuges?


MPR file photo- Native plants poke through the rubble of a corn crop

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has long used farming as a management tool. On some wildlife refuges crops are planted as food for waterfowl and other wildlife. In Minnesota a common use of farming is to prepare land before restoring it to native vegetation.

Later today on the MPR News program All Things Considered, I’ll have a story about an environmental review of the use of genetically modified crops on national wildlife refuges.

Wildlife managers say farming a piece of land for three or four years is the best way to kill all of the weeds that might be established on land that’s been laying dormant. That gives native plants a better chance at survival.

Managers like to allow farmers to use genetically modified corn or soybeans. They say that means a single herbicide, Roundup, is used instead of other longer lasting herbicides.

Some national environmental groups are questioning the practice.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Midwest Region has an environmental assessment of the practice up for public comment for the next couple of weeks.

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