A comment period on a draft environmental impact statement on Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist technology closed in March with more than 15,000 signatures in support of the technology, according to the company.

The comment period for USDA also included a virtual public meeting on Jan. 29 for the Enlist corn and soybean traits, during which growers, representatives from state agribusiness councils and a university scientist testified in support of the technology. USDA stated in the draft EIS that its preferred alternative is to approve Enlist corn and soybean crops.

Enlist provides resistance to glyphosate and Enlist Duo herbicide, a new 2,4-D product formulated for low volatility and reduced drift.

USDA is expected to open a comment period on a draft EIS for Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System “any day now,” according to Monsanto. The technology stacks dicamba resistance with Roundup Ready technology in soybeans and cotton.

 “The agricultural community simply must be engaged when it comes to advocating for new technology,” says Alan Kemper, former president, American Soybean Association. “This show of support for Enlist is extraordinary, and it’s exactly what we need if American farmers are to have the tools we need to steward our land for generations to come.”

“We appreciate the significant effort from USDA to produce this comprehensive review of the Enlist corn and soybean traits,” says Antonio Galindez, president and CEO, Dow AgroSciences. “The conclusion of this comment period marks an important milestone for Enlist. We’re one step closer to helping American farmers solve the tremendous challenge they’re facing to control weeds.”

In his comment to USDA, University of Georgia weed scientist Stanley Culpepper, Ph.D., weed scientist, University of Georgia, said, “The use of 2,4-D to assist in the management of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth would have instant and monumental impact in cotton and soybean production.”

A coalition of eight growers representing Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio submitted a joint letter to USDA which read in part, “Technologies such as Enlist will allow us to continue to provide the safe and abundant food supply that this country and the world ask us to produce.”

USDA is expected to review the comments it has received in the coming weeks, then will issue a final EIS. EPA will open a comment period for Enlist Duo herbicide in the coming weeks.

Pending regulatory approvals, Dow AgroSciences expects to launch Enlist corn and soybeans in 2015, with cotton to follow. Xtend soybeans could be available as early as 2015.