The new USDA survey of adoption has nothing to say about any of that and when in the past USDA reports have looked at the issue of benefits, they have ended up posing questions like, "Perhaps the biggest issue raised by these results is how to explain the rapid adoption of [GM] crops when farm financial impacts appear to be mixed or even negative?" (Adoption of Bioengineered Crops, Agricultural Economic Report No. AER810, May 2002)
And here's another piece of BIO sleight of hand: "With the help of plant biotechnology, corn productivity has increased more than 33.1 percent and soybean productivity has increased 17 percent."
In fact, as another recent report notes, "traditional plant breeding has produced a sustained rise in yields in the USA since the 1930s. There has been no additional increase in the annual rise since GM crops were introduced in 1996." Indeed, the evidence suggests that yield gains in soy and cotton have actually flattened off since widescale GM crop adoption. (Feeding the World with GM Crops: Myth or Reality?, GM freeze, June 2008)
The press release continues with the industry's usual "jam tomorrow": "Biotech crops have the potential to increase productivity by another 25 percent worldwide...", etc. etc. etc.
BIO Applauds U.S. Adoption for GE Corn, Cotton, Soybeans
BIO press release, 3 July 2008
American farmers have adopted genetically engineered (GE) crops widely since their introduction in 1996, especially corn, cotton and soybean varieties, according to a new USDA report.
USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) report, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. was released July 2, 2008. Key findings include:
* Adoption of GE (News/Aktienkurs) soybeans with HT (herbicide-tolerant) traits reached 92 percent in 2008.
* Adoption of all GE cotton, taking into account the acreage with either or both HT and Bt (insect-resistant) traits, reached 86 percent in 2008.
* Adoption of all biotech corn was 80 percent in 2008.
Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, Executive Vice President, Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response to the report's findings:
”°The USDA survey data further illustrates what we have known all along, that biotechnology is providing solutions for today's farmers in the form of plants that yield more per acre and reduce farmers' production costs while being resistant to disease and insect pests.
”°In 2007, 282 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 23 countries by 12 million farmers. We expect this growing trend to continue, especially at a time when the United States and the world are looking for science-based solutions to rising food and fuel prices.
”°With the help of plant biotechnology, corn productivity has increased more than 33.1 percent and soybean productivity has increased 17 percent. Biotech crops have the potential to increase productivity by another 25 percent worldwide. The next generation of biotech crops, with resistance to additional diseases and environmental stresses like drought and the ability to better use soil nutrients, will boost productivity even more.
”°Additionally, ag biotechnology has substantial environmental benefits because biotech crop varieties require less cultivation and fewer pesticide applications, thereby saving fuel and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the air. This also improves soil health and water retention.
”°The findings of this report prove that American farmers recognize how biotechnology improves their bottom line by reducing their costs and increasing crop productivity. Our members have made it their business to provide solutions for the challenges that exist in agriculture, and science is providing the tools that the world is beginning to embrace.”žË‡
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 2000-08 period by U.S. state.
A copy of the USDA ERS report, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. (July 2, 2008) including data tables is posted at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/BiotechCrops/#2008-7-2.
BIO represents more than 1,200 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.
Upcoming BIO Events
Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
Sept. 10-12, 2008
BIO Investor Forum 2008
October 29-31, 2008
San Francisco, CA
November 17-19, 2008 Mannheim/Heidelberg, Germany
NOTE: Note the classic sleight of hand in the way this Biotechnology Industry Organisation press release seamlessly moves from the new US Dept of Agriculture figures on the adoption of GM crops in the US by soybean, cotton and corn farmers, to claims that, "The USDA survey data further illustrates what we have known all along, that biotechnology is providing solutions for today's farmers in the form of plants that yield more per acre and reduce farmers' production costs while being resistant to disease and insect pests."