Considering the sound and fury surrounding anti-GMO activists pronouncements on genetically engineered crops, one might think these improved varieties are on the way out that farmers would be shunning them. But recent research from the USDA s Economic Research Service (ERS) demonstrates that nothing could be further from the truth.
The three crops most commonly planted using GMO technology in the United States are corn, cotton, and soybeans. Some have been genetically engineered to be herbicide tolerant (HT), some incorporate a protein that kills predatory insects (BT), and some are both herbicide tolerant and insecticidal. The use of all three genetically engineered crops has been increasing steadily since 2000.
Comparing the acreage planted in 2000 to that planted in 2014, the USDA s latest data shows the following:
Clearly, farmers have not been scared away from genetically engineered crops by the anti-GE activists fulminations.
Dr. Cathleen Enright, Executive Vice President for Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), commented on the ERS report:
Scientific innovation and seed technology allow growers to 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, increase profit margins for U.S. farming families and keep food costs affordable for U.S. consumers.
ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava added: Genetically engineered crops such as those in the ERS report are good for farmers saving them time and money by reducing the need for tillage and pesticide purchase and application. In addition, consumers will benefit from produce that has not been attacked by insects or fungus, thus improving quality. Now, we just need to allow varieties such as golden rice to be tested and disseminated to provide poorer nations with protection from easily prevented conditions such as blindness and immune-deficiencies from inadequate vitamin A stores. This condition has been estimated to cause at least a half-million premature deaths among children in the third world.