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Adoption of genetically engineered crops in the U.S.


Washington, DC
July 2, 2008

Source: USDA/ERS


U.S. farmers have adopted genetically engineered (GE) crops widely since their introduction in 1996, notwithstanding uncertainty about consumer acceptance and economic and environmental impacts. Soybeans and cotton genetically engineered with herbicide-tolerant traits have been the most widely and rapidly adopted GE crops in the U.S., followed by insect-resistant cotton and corn. This product summarizes the extent of adoption of herbicide-tolerant and insect–resistant crops since their introduction in 1996. Three tables devoted to corn, cotton, and soybeans cover the 2000-08 period by State. See more on extent of adoption...


The following tables provide the data obtained by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in the June Agricultural Survey for 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Randomly selected farmers across the United States were asked if they planted corn, soybeans, or upland cotton seed that, through biotechnology, is resistant to herbicides, insects, or both. Conventionally bred herbicide-tolerant varieties were excluded. Stacked gene varieties include those containing GE traits for both herbicide tolerance (HT) and insect resistance (Bt).

According to NASS, the States published in these tables represent 81-86 percent of all corn planted acres, 88-90 percent of all soybean planted acres, and 81-93 percent of all upland cotton planted acres (depending on the year). See more on the extent of adoption.

The acreage estimates are subject to sampling variability because all operations planting GE varieties are not included in the sample. The variability for the 48 corn States, calculated by NASS using the relative standard error at the U.S. level, is 0.5-1.8 percent for all GE varieties (depending on the year), 1.6-2.4 percent for insect-resistant (Bt)-only varieties, 1.7-3.8 percent for herbicide-tolerant-only varieties, and 1.3-10.8 percent for stacked gene varieties. Variability for the 31 soybean States is 0.3-0.8 percent for herbicide-tolerant varieties, depending on the year. Variability for the 17 upland cotton States is 0.8-2.2 percent for all GE varieties, 4.6-5.6 percent for insect-resistant (Bt)-only varieties, 2.6-6.6 percent for herbicide-tolerant-only varieties, and 2.4-4.2 percent for stacked gene varieties.


The tables will be updated with 2009 GE adoption figures in July 2009 once the survey data become available at the end of June 2009.

Data Sources

Check the data glossary for details of the different surveys that provided the data.

Related Resources

Many people are interested in information about the global GE acreage. USDA does not collect these data. Estimates are produced by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) and can be found in the report, Global Status of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 2007.





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