U.S. Farmers: GMO Crops Help Reduce Inputs and Enhance Conservation

December 16, 2016 11:25 AM

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The majority of U.S. farmers and ranchers indicate biotechnology and GMO crops as an important solution in helping raise crops more efficiently, according to new survey results released today from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). With technology shaping today's farms, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are one tool in a farmer's toolbox to enhance production and grow and raise our food supply more sustainably.

Over 280 farmers across the United States were surveyed about their attitudes toward GMO crops. They were asked to weigh in on a range of topics regarding the impact of GMO technology on the environment, pesticide use, and yields, among others.

Findings conclude that farmers believe biotechnology helps raise crops more efficiently, and that the environment and sustainability practices will suffer if GMO technology utilization is reduced in crop production in the future. Seventy-eight (78%) percent of farmers foresee increased environmental impacts—including an increase in water usage and application of pesticides—if GMO seeds were not to be available to them as a choice in crop production.

When asked about farmers' ability to lessen their environmental footprint, 98 percent of those polled ranked GMO seeds at the top of their list. Additional survey findings include:

  • Pesticide Use/Crop Inputs: When asked about the reason for using biotechnology when raising crops, most farmers indicated GMO seeds allow them to minimize pesticide/herbicide usage (87%).
  • Sustainability: Three quarters (78%) of farmers also expressed being able to engage in advanced farming practices, such as conservation tillage. Another two-thirds (64%) of farmers also believe GMO seeds allow for efficient management of resources, specifically, fuel, time and less wear-and-tear on their equipment.
  • Yields: Many farmers believe GMO seeds produce a higher yield (69%). This finding may also have an impact on why many farmers believe GMO seeds work best for their particular farm and region in enhancing productivity (65%).

"With GMOs and advances in agricultural technology, we're utilizing our resources much more precisely today and have pinpoint accuracy when applying fertilizer, nitrogen and chemical applications. This is especially important on my farm in the Chesapeake Bay watershed," said Chip Bowling, vice chairman of USFRA and third-generation farmer. "The farmers' perspective in the survey findings are a direct indication of how important genetic engineering technology is for the environment and our food supply, and how it benefits farmers and consumers alike."

This most recent farmer survey follows USFRA's September 2016annual Perception Benchmark Study, which measured consumer opinions about agriculture, including attitudes toward environmental sustainability, GMOs and technology. Approximately half of the Consumer Food Connectors, or men and women surveyed between the ages of 21-65 (with no personal connections to farming), attributed increased yields and increased efficiency to the use of advanced technology on farms and ranches. While technology on the farm was perceived positively, only 11 percent of this group found GMOs favorable.

"As an organization that supports all farmers and their choice to plant and grow conventional crops, genetically modified crops, organic crops, or any combination, we believe in sustainability and technology to continually improve our farms for future generations," said Randy Krotz, USFRA CEO. "Our research shows the continued need for agriculture to inform today's consumer about the merits and benefits of GMOs and other technologies, while dispelling any misconceptions about negative impacts to human health and the environment."

The survey was conducted online from October 11-26, 2016, among a sample of 282 farmers, 18 years of age and older, living in the U.S. The margin of error for this study is /-5.84 % at a 95% confidence level. Of the 282 farmers polled, 92% have been using GMO seeds for 10 or more years, and grow a variety of crops, including corn, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat and cotton.

To view an executive summary of the survey, visit http://www.fooddialogues.com/press-release/gmo/u.s.-farmers-ranchers-alliance-national-corn-growers-association-gmo-farmer-survey.

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Spell Check

Alex H.
Central, IL
12/16/2016 02:15 PM

  This isn't an objective news story. It's an infomercial that sounds like it was written by Monsanto's PR staff. This is what they mean by "fake news" right?

Blackfoot, ID
12/16/2016 07:29 PM

  @Alex H.- This was simply a POLL of what farmers thought. Unwad your panties- no scary science here. "men and women surveyed between the ages of 21-65 ***(with no personal connections to farming)***, attributed increased yields and increased efficiency to the use of advanced technology on farms and ranches. While technology on the farm was perceived positively, ***only 11 percent of this group found GMOs favorable.*** Yep. Those most disconnected with commercial farming are the least likely to understand and accept its advancements.

East, IA
12/19/2016 08:25 AM

  I'm seeing more farmers reduce their traited corn just because of the cost. We are experiencing chemical resistant weeds which further reduces the need for the roundup gene. And the weeds are resistant to banvil so it's questionable if the newest technology will do any good. There's been a lot of high speed disc and cultural bought as we regress back to tillage to control weeds. Add to that a premium for a non GMO crop. We throw out words like "high tech" like it's going to make farming better when good cultural practices like rotation and tillage do a better job and the money stays in the farmers pocket not big ag


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