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Acres planted with biotech seed down slightly in 2015

Top StoryAn annual report that details the adoption of biotech crops shows the first decline of acres planted with genetically modified seed in 20 years.

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications report says acres planted to GM crops dropped a marginal 1 percent in 2015.

Bill Horan chairman of the Global Farmer Network says drought in parts of Africa as well as lower commodity prices were contributing factors.

He says some farmers are choosing to plant non-GM corn to lower input costs.  “With the low commodity prices below the cost of production there are a number of farmers that are rolling the dice last year and this year,” he says.  “That this is going to be one of the years they can get by without paying a little extra for Bt traited corn.”

Horan tells Brownfield the decline in 2015 is not likely to be a long-term trend.  “There’s too much value in genetically enhanced seed,” he says.  “With the two to three million more middle-class incomes that are coming between now and 2050 there is going to be huge demand for this grain and we’re going to use GM crops to satisfy the needs of that global population of 9 billion people.”

The organization says since 1996 more than 4 billion acres of GM and biotech crops.  It estimates farmers in up to 28 countries have reaped more than 150 billion (US) dollars in benefits from biotech crops since 1996.

In 1996 there were just 4.2 million acres of GM crops planted globally and in 20 years that number has increased 100-fold.

The report shows that for the fourth consecutive year developing countries planted more acres to biotech crops than industrialized countries.

For more details on the report click HERE.

AUDIO: Bill Horan, Chairman Global Farmer Network

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