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GMO Answers Takes a Fresh Look at the Value of Popular Commodity Crops

February 19, 2015
Each week during the month of February, GMO Answers has planned to introduce a new commodity crop, its role in agricultural production and its relationship to biotechnology and GMOs.

Week 1, GMO Answers talked about corn, a major commodity crop - where it's most commonly grown and why, its many uses, and the types of corn that are available as GM varieties.

Corn is planted on about 80 million acres in the U.S., with most of the crop grown in the Midwest / Heartland. About 99 % of the corn grown in the U.S. is field corn, with the remaining 1 % being sweet corn. What’s the difference between field and sweet corn? Whereas you’ll find sweet corn in your produce aisles and farmers markets for you to eat, field corn is typically used for livestock feed, food ingredients, and to make a wide range of consumer products. National Corn Grower’s Association explains the difference between field and sweet corn here...

The U.S. is the largest corn producer on Earth, accounting for more than 30 percent of the world’s corn crop. It’s grown on more than 400,000 farms in the U.S., and over 20 percent of the corn grown in the States is exported for international trade, supporting one million American jobs. You can learn more about corn’s role in international trade here.

Week 2, soybeans were highlighted as another popular commodity crop in the U.S.

Today, soy ranks second only to corn as the most widely planted field crop in the U.S., with soybean acreage concentrated in the Midwest and Southeast where climates are most hospitable…Soybeans are usually planted between May and July, and harvested in fall. Curious how soybeans are harvested? Take a ride in the combine with farmers from Find Our Common Ground and learn more about how soybeans are grown and harvested...

Just like corn, soy is used in a wide variety of manufacturing processes and consumer products. As early as the 1940’s Henry Ford was experimenting with soy as an alternative material for making cars.

This week, GMO Answers plans on looking at the many uses and benefits of cotton. Cotton is an extremely versatile crop that has been grown for thousands of years. Many of us know and recognize cotton, from our favorite t-shirt to the sheets on our bed. We use cotton every day....

Globally, over 74 million acres of cotton are grown – an area about the size of Poland – in more than 80 countries across the globe. In the U.S., fewer than 18,000 farms in only 17 southern states (including California, Texas, and Southeastern states.) grow cotton, but those 17 states produce over 30 percent of the world's yield, with annual exports of more than $7 billion and more than $25 billion in products and services annually, generating approximately 200,000 jobs in the industry from farm to textile mill. Details about U.S. cotton production can be found at and a map of U.S. cotton producing regions is available from the International Cotton Advisory Committee here.

Check out GMO Answers next week for the next crop in its Commodity Crop Series!

The 20th Annual Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention & trade show. This year’s Show will be held February 26-18, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ. For those attending, stop by the GMO Answers and Center for Food Integrity booth!!