USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has announced plans to prepare two environmental impact statements (EIS) on 2,4-D- and dicamba-resistant crops.

The crops, which include Dow AgroSciences’ 2,4-D-tolerant corn and soybeans and Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton, are expected on the market within a few years.

In 2012, the Save Our Crops Coalition petitioned USDA to prepare an EIS to consider the environmental impacts of dicamba-tolerant crops, especially in regard to drift near specialty crops.

In a statement announcing the EIS, APHIS noted that both herbicides “have been safely and widely used across the country since the 1960s to control weeds on crop and non-crop sites. If approved, the genetically engineered technology would provide farmers the flexibility for new applications of these herbicides, while also offering farmers additional crop planting options.”

Monsanto said it will cooperate with APHIS “as it prepares an EIS on the company’s next-generation dicamba weed management technologies: Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean and Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton technologies.”

The company said it will work with APHIS “to complete this action as soon as possible to ensure that U.S. soybean and cotton farmers can gain access to these important new technologies.

“U.S. farmers tell us they need these critical technologies to help manage tough-to-control weeds on their farms to maximize yield potential and meet the world’s growing demands,” said Lisa Safarian, U.S. row crops lead for Monsanto.