APHIS’s deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa became effective upon publication of the nonregulated status in the Federal Register on February 2, 2011. This announcement came at the end of a 46-month environmental review process. APHIS announced publication of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Roundup Ready Alfalfa on December 16, 2010. The EIS satisfied a 9th Circuit Court ruling that required the environmental review to be conducted. On June 21, 2010, the Supreme Court reversed a federal appeals court ruling prohibiting selling Roundup Ready alfalfa seed. The Supreme Court recognized the product would remain regulated pending the completion of the EIS.
USDA considered three alternatives during the preparation of the final EIS. Regulating Roundup Ready alfalfa seed was one option. Another possible outcome would have meant deregulating the seed with the stipulation that producers follow a combination of isolation distances and geographic restrictions on seed production. In some areas, Roundup Ready hay could have been regulated as well. The final USDA decision, deregulating the sale of the seed, allows producers to use the seed and resulting hay without conditions or restrictions.