U.S. Farmers Continue to Prefer Biotech Crop Varieties

  • Contact: Karen Batra
  • Phone: 202-449-6382
  • Email: kbatra@bio.org
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Adoption of biotech cotton rose to 94 percent from last year

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 16, 2012) – Genetically engineered (GE) varieties of soybeans, cotton and corn are the preferred choice of U.S. farmers over their conventional and organic counterparts, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

In the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) report, Genetically engineered varieties of corn, upland cotton, and soybeans, by State and for the Unites States, 2000-12, key findings include: 

  • Of all cotton grown in the United States, 94 percent is a genetically engineered variety in 2012 (up from 90 percent in 2011).
  • Of all soybeans grown in the United States, 93 percent is a genetically engineered variety in 2012 (down slightly from 94 percent in 2011; was at 93 percent in 2010).
  • Of all corn grown in the United States, 88 percent is a genetically engineered variety in 2012 (was 88 percent in 2011, and 86 percent in 2010). 

Dr. Cathleen Enright, Executive Vice President for Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response to the report’s findings:  

“The new USDA adoption data for GE crops proves once again that U.S. growers choose to plant biotech crop varieties – especially cotton, soybeans and corn – because of the economical and environmental benefits they provide. 

“Biotech crops produce the most reliable and abundant yields with less tilling of the soil and fewer applications of insecticides.  These practices promote environmental sustainability, reduce on-farm fuel use and increase profit margins for U.S. farms. 

“The need for advanced seed technology is more important than ever as we look to provide the food, feed, fuel and fiber for nine billion people by 2050.  Farmers in the United States and around the world need the best tools available to achieve this goal amid the challenges of drought and climate change. 

“Currently, a record 16.7 million farmers in 29 countries are using seed varieties improved through genetic engineering and biotechnology.  Ninety percent (more than 15 million) of these are resource-poor farmers in developing countries. 

“People who really want to combat hunger, to keep food costs affordable, to protect the environment and to mitigate climate change are adopting agricultural biotechnology and embracing the solutions that it provides.”   

**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 2000-12 period by U.S. state.  It is posted on the USDA-ERS website at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us.aspx.

About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.