U.S. Farmers Continue to Prefer Biotech Crop Varieties

  • Contact: Karen Batra
  • Phone: 202-449-6382
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Tuesday, July 05, 2011) - Genetically engineered varieties of soybeans, cotton and corn are preferred by American farmers over their conventional and organic counterparts, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) report, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.was released July 1, 2011. Key findings include:

  • The use of GE soybeans rose to 94 percent in 2011. 
    (up from 93 percent in 2010)
  • The use of GE cotton is at 90 percent in 2011. 
    (down slightly from 93 percent in 2010, but up from 88 percent in 2009)
  • The use of biotech corn climbed to 88 percent in 2011.
    (up from 86 percent in 2010)

Ab Basu, Acting Executive Vice President, Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response to the report’s findings:  

“This year’s data on adoption of genetically engineered crops suggest that nine out of ten U.S. farmers choose to plant biotech varieties of soybeans, cotton and corn.  

“Most farmers point to the economic and environmental benefits provided by agricultural biotechnology as the reason for their planting choices.  For example, biotech crops require 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 move to biotechnology and modern farming practices is reflected in the choices of farmers around the world.  In 2010, 366 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 29 countries by 15.4 million farmers.  

“The next generation of biotech crops, with resistance to environmental stresses such as drought and frost, and enhanced nutritional content will provide for healthier plants and healthier foods.  And we continue to discover new energy sources with biofuels made from corn, wood, grasses, algae and non-edible parts of plants- such as cornstalks.  

“Since 1996, innovations in science and technology have made modern agriculture more sustainable, and agricultural biotechnology has played a key role in that trend.  These science-based solutions are crucial to meeting the challenge of feeding and fueling a growing world.”

**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 2000-11 period by U.S. state.  A copy of the USDA ERS report, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. (July 1, 2011) including data tables is posted athttp://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/BiotechCrops.

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.