According to the USDA’s annual report on the adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops in the U.S., there has been a substantial increase in the amount of biotech corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the U.S. since 2000.
Dr. Cathleen Enright, Executive Vice President for Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), said in a statement, “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.”
The following are some of the key findings of the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), which conducted the study:
- Genetically engineered cotton is 94 percent of all cotton grown in the United States in 2012 (up from 90 percent in 2011).
- Genetically engineered soybeans are 93 percent of all soybeans grown in the United States in 2012 (down slightly from 94 percent in 2011; was at 93 percent in 2010).
- Genetically engineered corn is 88 percent of all corn grown in the United States in 2012 (was 88 percent in 2011, and 86 percent in 2010).
To view the USDA’s data on corn, cotton and soybeans, refer to the Economic Research Service’s website here.
Approval of GM Papaya supports U.S. economic growth
Japan’s decision to approve genetically modified (GM) papaya produced by Hawaiian farmers will create U.S. jobs and boost exports, the Associated Press reports.
USDA Under Secretary Michael Scuse said in a statement, “This announcement will ensure that Hawaii’s papaya producers help to drive our agricultural economy by expanding exports, creating jobs, and strengthening our nation’s competitiveness.” Read more.
Biotechnology advances needed to increase global cotton production
Global cotton production, which is expected to see slow growth the rest of this decade, could benefit from advances in biotechnology to increase yields, Delta Farm Press reports.
Dr. Terry Townsend, executive director of the International Cotton Advisory Committee in Washington, said, “It is likely that over the next several decades, new advances in technologies could trigger another period (or two) of rapid growth in cotton yields.” Read more.
National Geographic: GM crops improve food productivity and help feed the world
The July 2011 issue of National Geographic discusses the role of genetically modified crops in increasing food productivity and meeting hunger needs around the world. Read more.
Kenya plans to release first GM cotton crop
Business Daily, a Kenyan publication, says the country will release seeds for its first genetically modified cotton crop in 2014. The article says the technology will benefit farmers because it will double yields and is part of the government’s efforts to increase the value of small-scale farming and to mitigate rural poverty. Read more.
Biotechnology becoming more widely adopted globally
According to Pioneer Press, biotechnology is becoming more widely adopted around the world and “it has made crop farming easier” and more competitive. Read more.