For now  the developers of Round Up Ready sugar beets and growers of the genetically altered root crop can continue to cultivate, but under some strict conditions.

Andre Bell for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says the decision comes following initial environmental assessments and public comment.

"Round up ready sugar beet when grown under APHIS imposed conditions can actually be partially deregulated without posing a plant pest risk or having a significant effect on the environment."

Bell says, growers will have to sign an agreement saying they will follow all the mandatory requirements for how the Monsanto developed GMO crop can be grown.

The USDA expects to complete a full environmental study by the end of May 2012.

Back in 2005 the USDA totally deregulated Monsanto's  Round up Ready Beets, but a lawsuit filed in 2008 retracted that deregulation claiming a full environmental impact study should have been completed first.

Organic farmers are fighting unregulated use of genetically altered seed. According to a report in Organic Connect magazine, organic farmers fear both cross pollination with the modified seed along with the potential for "super weeds" developing as resistance to Monsanto's weed killer, Roundup builds.

The USDA estimates use of Genetically engineered sugar beet varieties exceeded 95 percent of U.S. sugar beet production in 2010.

Follow this link for the full  news release from the USDA:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2011/02/rr_sugar_beets.shtml