Biotech Corn Crops Provide Bountiful Harvest For Food and Fuel

Biotechnology can ensure that there is enough corn for food and fuel.

Biotechnology can play an important role in ethanol demand, according to a study released Thursday by the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, by ensuring that enough corn crops are available for food and energy use. 
The study found that U.S. farmers gained an additional 8.3 billion pounds of yield last year due to biotech crops. The 7.6 billion pounds of corn production marks a 29 percent increase over the 2004 harvest.

Corn production has seen an extra 39 billion pounds of yield, equivalent to 1.9 billion gallons of ethanol production, since plant biotechnology was commercialized in the late 1990s.

These continued yield increases will be an important factor in meeting the increased future demand as corn prices hit 10-year high records and corn used for ethanol production is forecasted to rise 34 percent in 2007.

The report also found that biotech crops helped farmers increase their income by $2 billion last year, while reducing the amount of pesticides used 69.7 million pounds on the 123 million acres planted to the biotech-enhanced crops.
Sujatha Sankula, study author and lead researcher for the National Center, expects these income gains to grow in the second decade of biotech crop production.

The study is an annual update of a 2002 report by the National Center that analyzes, quantifies and documents the agronomic, economic and environmental impacts of biotech crops on U.S. agriculture.

The National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy is a private, nonprofit, non-advocacy research organization.

The complete study, Quantification of the Impacts on U.S. Agriculture of Biotechnology Derived Crops Planted in 2005, can be found by clicking here.

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