Thought you’d seen the worst of genetically engineered (GE) crops? Thought lawns are the worst squandering of potentially productive land? Thought the pesticide use on U.S. turf grass was high enough, at just under twice that used on crops? And thought that grass irrigation at ten times that used on crops was bad enough? Well, get ready for “Franken-grass”.
Despite a disastrous attempt in 1997 when Scotts partnered with Monsanto to create a Roundup resistant bent grass, Scotts is back at it again, this time with Kentucky bluegrass. The botched 1997 attempt resulted in pollen and seed from a test plot in Oregon escaping and growing uncontrollably, and efforts to kill it have failed. Speaking of their debacle, Scotts CEO, Jim Hagedorn, flippently said “You have 1,000 kids, 1 million kids. You can’t get them all back. Our stuff is in the wild.” But that isn’t stopping them from again endangering the environment or the rights of those of us who want to remain GE free. Throwing caution (and GE pollen) to the wind, Scotts is using unpatented gene research to mechanically implant genes, a process that falls outside of USDA regulatory authority. And because they can, they’re already doing field trials, in lawns of some of their employees. It again won’t take much for this GE grass to escape and infest neighboring farms’ hay fields, livestock pasture, and city garden plots. On top of that, GE grass will lead to an increased use of glyphosate (Roundup’s active chemical)