U.S. Farmers Continue to Embrace Biotech Crops and Their Benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 29, 2007) ¯ Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) Food and Agriculture Section, released the following statement today regarding the release of U.S. biotech crop acreage numbers by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS):

“For another consecutive year, U.S. farmers have demonstrated their support of products of agricultural biotechnology by increasing the number of biotech crop acres planted in this country.  Today, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported that U.S. farmers planted a record number of acres of biotech crops in 2007.  This year, U.S. farmers planted 67.8 million acres of biotech corn, a significant 42 percent increase over 2006.  Biotech corn varieties accounted for 73 percent of the entire U.S. corn acreage in 2007.

“Acceptance of biotech soybean and cotton also continues to grow.  In 2007, 91 percent of the soybeans planted in the United States were biotech varieties.  In 2006, 89 percent of soybeans grown in this country were biotech varieties.  U.S. farmer support of biotech cotton also continues to grow.  Eighty-seven percent of cotton grown in the United States this year were biotech varieties, in comparison to 83 percent of the cotton acreage in 2006 being biotech varieties.”

“Since their commercialization over a decade ago, biotech crops have provided numerous benefits to U.S. farmers, such as increased yield, improved quality, and a reduction in pesticide applications.  Consumers, both in the United States and internationally, benefit from biotech crops as well ¯ this technology enables the continued availability of a safe and affordable food supply.” 

“U.S. farmers continue to choose to plant biotech crops because of the tremendous value agricultural biotechnology delivers to an abundant, healthful, and affordable food supply.  This technology is helping keep American agriculture at the forefront of meeting the world’s growing demand for food.”

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations.  BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.  BIO also produces the annual BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry.