Global Biotech Crop Acreage Up, Plus Clayton Yeutter on the Miracle of American Agriculture

by Greg Conko on February 13, 2012 · 3 comments

in Agriculture, Features, Nano & Biotech, Regulation, Trade

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Global planting of biotech crops grew 8 percent last year, to a record high of 395 million total acres, according to the latest report from Clive James at the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA). Despite the many regulatory hurdles that governments around the world have erected to the approval and adoption of biotech crop varieties, when farmers have the opportunity to plant them, they do. Last year, more than 16 and a half million farmers grew biotech crops in 29 different countries.

What’s particularly noteworthy is that, while activists try to portray biotechnology as a rich industrial world tool, the bulk of recent growth in biotech crop adoption has come among relatively resource-poor farmers in less developed and newly industrialized countries. The United States has, since the first biotech crop introductions back in the early 1990s, grown the largest number of acreage planted with biotech varieties. But, while annual acreage increases in countries like the U.S. and Canada is starting to flatten a bit, the most robust growth has come from Brazil, India, and China. LDCs and NICs now grow about half of the world’s total biotech crop acreage. In China alone, roughly 7 million poor farmers grow biotech crops on an average of just one and a quarter acres.

On a related note, in this short video, former Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter discusses the role that advanced technologies have played in making U.S. agriculture a vibrant and productive contributor to the global economy.

earth science February 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Your photo of wheat is misleading.
There are NO commercially available varieties of GMO wheat produced in the world today. Then do some research and explain why there are no GMO wheat varieties.
Please switch to a photo of corn instead.

Greg Conko February 14, 2012 at 9:44 am

Dear “earth science”,

While it is true that there are no “commercially available” varieties of engineered wheat, that’s not the same thing as there being no varieties of engineered wheat. See here, for example:

Marc Scribner February 14, 2012 at 11:32 am

earth science,

You are correct. However, the photo above does in fact feature a variety of engineered wheat. Specifically, the photo comes from Australia’s CSIRO and was of an experimental crop that was destroyed by Greenpeace activists last summer.

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