WASHINGTON, D.C. (Thursday, July 03, 2008) - American farmers have adopted genetically engineered (GE) crops widely since their introduction in 1996, especially corn, cotton and soybean varieties, according to a new USDA report.
USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) report, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. was released July 2, 2008. Key findings include:
• Adoption of GE soybeans with HT (herbicide-tolerant) traits reached 92 percent in 2008.
• Adoption of all GE cotton, taking into account the acreage with either or both HT and Bt (insect-resistant) traits, reached 86 percent in 2008.
• Adoption of all biotech corn was 80 percent in 2008.
Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, Executive Vice President, Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response to the report’s findings:
“The USDA survey data further illustrates what we have known all along, that biotechnology is providing solutions for today’s farmers in the form of plants that yield more per acre and reduce farmers’ production costs while being resistant to disease and insect pests.
“In 2007, 282 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 23 countries by 12 million farmers. We expect this growing trend to continue, especially at a time when the United States and the world are looking for science-based solutions to rising food and fuel prices.
“With the help of plant biotechnology, corn productivity has increased more than 33.1 percent and soybean productivity has increased 17 percent. Biotech crops have the potential to increase productivity by another 25 percent worldwide. The next generation of biotech crops, with resistance to additional diseases and environmental stresses like drought and the ability to better use soil nutrients, will boost productivity even more.
“Additionally, ag biotechnology has substantial environmental benefits because biotech crop varieties require less cultivation and fewer pesticide applications, thereby saving fuel and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the air. This also improves soil health and water retention.
“The findings of this report prove that American farmers recognize how biotechnology improves their bottom line by reducing their costs and increasing crop productivity. Our members have made it their business to provide solutions for the challenges that exist in agriculture, and science is providing the tools that the world is beginning to embrace.”
The report summarizes the extent of adoption of herbicide-tolerant and insect–resistant crops since their introduction in 1996. Three tables within the report devoted to corn, cotton, and soybeans cover the 2000-08 period by U.S. state.
A copy of the USDA ERS report, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. (July 2, 2008) including data tables is posted at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/BiotechCrops/#2008-7-2.
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