Biotechnology is Good for the Environment

Biotechnology Helps Farmers Feed the World and Conserve Natural Resources. 

Advances in science and biotechnology, in particular, have enabled farmers to produce abundant, high-quality crops sustainably, and reduce the use of chemicals, fertilizers, water, and land. Contrary to what some may say, 15 years of biotech crops have proven to be a boon for mankind and the environment. Farming is a volatile industry affected by weather, trade policies and world conflicts. While farmers cannot control any of these factors, they can access the latest science to fight the challenges nature throws at them every year. These challenges include pressure from weeds, insects, disease, and weather.

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism that has been altered through the use of DNA molecules from different sources that are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes. Since the USDA approved GMO crops in 1996, U.S. farmers have rapidly adopted the technology and today nearly 90 percent of soybean, corn, and cotton acreage in the U.S. is planted with GMO seeds. In addition, other GMO crops have been introduced throughout the world. Notably, GMO, varieties of alfalfa and sugar beets were approved by the USDA in 2011.

In Bt corn genes from the common soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis are spliced into the corn genome and when the most destructive pest of corn, the European corn borer, eats from the stalk of a Bt Corn plant a crystal protein forms in its gut and it dies before it can affect the corn plant.

In soybeans, a gene taken from bacteria and inserted into the soybean genome is resistant to the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate. When glyphosate is applied to newly emerged plants it inhibits an enzyme necessary for photosynthesis and kills all the plants except the modified soybean that is resistant to glyphosate.

Corn, in addition to resisting the corn borer, has also been modified to resist glyphosate.  The vast majority of worldwide biotech crops are in corn and soybeans, and the vast majority of those crops are fed to animals.

BIOTECHNOLOGY USE AND ACCEPTANCE IS INCREASING WORLDWIDE

The worldwide growth from 4.2 million acres of biotech crops in 1996 to 366 million acres in 2010 is an unprecedented 87-fold increase, making biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture. Importantly, this reflects the trust and confidence of millions of farmers who have consistently benefited and provided a strong motivation and incentive to plant more acres of biotech crops every single year since 1996, mostly with double-digit percentage annual growth. Today 29 countries accept GMO crops and by 2015 it is expected that 40 countries will approve them. Both Germany and Sweden have recently approved a biotech potato, and Spain plants 68 thousand hectares of Bt maize.(International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2010 and accompanying materials are posted at www.isaaa.org.)

Though the European Union has banned most GMO crops, to date there have been no credible studies that prove GMO derived foods are harmful to either humans or animals. Most EU member states are now drafting specific coexistence measures for

GMO crop cultivation. In 2011 a Vatican science panel supported the adoption of biotech crops to help feed a hungry world and alleviate famine in Africa.

Biotechnology supporters in Europe are working for a unified policy allowing farmers and food and feed processors to grow and use genetically engineered crops.  The founder of Futuragra, an Italian farmers’ association, Silvano Dalla Libera, says farmers and consumers will ultimately decide the fate of biotechnology in Europe. He sites a 2009 survey which shows 53 percent of farmers in two Italian agriculture districts would like to plant genetically modified corn, and 35 percent of consumers are willing to buy products made with genetically modified corn. (European Biotechnology Science and Industry News, July 7, 2010.)

BIOTECHNOLOGY BENEFITS MINNESOTA SOYBEAN FARMERS THROUGH INCREASED YIELDS, CROP PROTECTION, AND MANAGEMENT FLEXIBILITY

Herbicide-resistant soybeans increase efficiency, simplicity, flexibility and worker safety. By using one herbicide instead of several they reduce the time needed to scout for weeds and mixing and spraying multiple herbicides. They also save time, energy and expense by reducing the number of trips across fields to cultivate for weed control and allow farmers to wait until weed growth peaks, so when the herbicide is sprayed, the weeds have a harder time re-growing and competing with the established crops. Farmers who use reduced tillage or no-till methods in their fields foster environmentally beneficial practices with the help of herbicide-resistant crops. The herbicide eliminates the weeds, so less plowing and cultivating are needed. Weed resistance to herbicides is a growing concern not just to environmentalists but also to farmers. Farmers are careful to apply only recommended rates of herbicides on their fields to protect the environment and the technology.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS ARE HEARTIER AND BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT THAN CONVENTIONAL VARIETIES

In addition to the direct benefits from the ability to better control insects and weeds researchers say genetically modified corn and soybeans are heartier and better for the environment than conventional varieties.

Despite the obvious benefits, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association does not support setting up an “either/or” premise between biotechnology and conventional crops or organically grown crops. Farmers should have a choice in the seed they plant, and consumers should have a choice in the products they purchase.  While it would be impossible for farmers to meet world food demands and sustain natural resources without biotechnology, farmers who choose to plant conventional seed or to farm organically should have the freedom to do that. Similarly, consumers who can afford to purchase certified organic products should have that choice.

10 million acres of Bt corn (resistance to European corn borer) provides the following benefits to farmers and the public, according to Dr. Marlin Rice, Iowa State University:

  • Better pest control with reduced exposure to insecticides
  • $231 million in yield gains
  • Reduced stalk lodging for improved harvest efficiency and lower fuel costs
  • Reduction in pesticide use by 5.5 million pounds of active ingredient
  • Reduced farm waste from insecticide containers
  • Less water used to apply insecticide (5.5 million gallons of water conserved)
  • Better conditions for wildlife and non-target organisms
  • Reduced crop insurance premiums because corn protected from insects are less likely to fail
  • Reduced public expenditures for federal crop insurance

In soybeans, glyphosate for weed control can supplement or replace tillage as a tool for controlling most weeds. Following are tangible benefits of herbicide-resistant soybeans:

  • Reduced use of machinery, fuel, and labor (Fuel costs can be reduced as much as 50 percent and labor costs up to 40 percent).
  • Reduction of intensive methods of weed management such as tillage and application of herbicides.
  • Fewer passes over the field reduce wear and tear on equipment.
  • Biotech plants increase plant vigor and ability to resist stress.

In a study published in the Journal Science in 2010 researchers found that Bt corn that controlled for European corn borer had cumulative benefits to both Bt and non-Bt corn growers. Researchers found that the area-wide suppression of the pest had benefits for all corn growers and affirmed the theoretical predictions of pest population suppression. Over 14 years farmers in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska realized cumulative benefits of $6.8 billion, with more than $4.3 billion of this total accruing to non-Bt corn growers.

Unlike broad-spectrum insecticides that kill most insects, even beneficial ones such as honey bees, crops with the Bt trait target only specific pests that feed on that crops. Repeated plantings of Bt crops could lead to the emergence of Bt-resistant insects, but a successful refuge strategy mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has prevented this from occurring. The strategy mandates a certain percentage of every Bt field must be planted with non-Bt seed to ensure that a population of insects susceptible to Bt trait gene will survive. The introduction of multiple Bt traits in new crop varieties further reduces the probability of insect resistance to Bt crops. National Academy of Sciences, The Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States, 2011

Biotechnology will play a role in expanding the world’s supply of food, feed, and renewable fuels. Yield increases facilitated by biotechnology and other plant breeding methods are accelerating yield increases in soybeans while improving the sustainability of U.S. soybean production. Over the last 20 years, U.S. soybean yields have been increasing at an average rate of about 1.7 percent per year.

CONSUMER BENEFITS FROM BIOTECHNOLOGY WILL EXPAND TO DIRECT NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS

In addition to environmental benefits, today Americans enjoy a lower cost food supply compared to their non-GMO European counterparts, and in the near future, will also enjoy direct nutritional benefits. For example, new biotech soybean varieties will contain heart-healthy properties, including Omega-3s, which promote heart health; low-linolenic soybean oil that reduces or eliminates trans fats; and stearic acid oil, which help neutralize cholesterol.

The biotechnology traits available in crops today already are providing a consumer benefit through cleaner grains for food processing. Grain from GM corn shows less damage from insects and is less likely to contain harmful molds and fungus. More of the farmers’ grain meets food processors purity standards and a plentiful grain supply helps keep food costs affordable for consumers. Herbicide-resistant soybeans have fewer weed seeds in the harvested crop, which results in better quality for food producers and ultimately consumers.

Additional traits valuable to food processors and ultimately consumers include a corn-expressed phytase enzyme, vitally important for meat production; and corn-expressed amylase, a critical ingredient in the production of ethanol.

MANY REGULATORS WORLDWIDE AGREE ON SAFETY OF BIOTECHNOLOGY

Commercial biotech crops and foods have been thoroughly assessed for food, feed, and environmental safety according to well-established, internationally accepted, scientific standards and guidelines. Companies must comply with the rules and regulations designated to ensure product safety — rules that are more restrictive than for any other plant product. Scientific and regulatory authorities around the world have found genetically engineered crops to be wholesome, nutritious, and equal in safety to conventional crops both for the environment and people.

The U.S. government has a coordinated, risk-based system to ensure new biotechnology products are safe for the environment and human and animal health. Three federal agencies typically review new genetically engineered crop plants: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U..S. Food and Drug Administration. Typical testing of biotech crops includes general food safety, protein safety, allergy assessment, substantial equivalence, (which quantifies how a genetically engineered crop compares to a conventional one) and environmental safety.

A rigorous and comprehensive set of data is generated on every plant biotechnology product before commercialization. It takes several years of testing in the lab and field to conduct the studies needed to satisfy the requirements of the regulatory agencies.

The United Nations Codex Commission in 2003 affirmed the standards of safety assessment used by regulatory authorities globally, and numerous international scientific bodies conclude that the health and environmental safety of biotech crops are similar to crops produced through traditional crop breeding methods.

The European Commission in 2001 acknowledged that the greater regulatory scrutiny given to biotech crops and foods probably makes them even safer than conventional plants and foods.

BIOTECHNOLOGY HELPS THE ENVIRONMENT

In 1950 the world’s grain output was 692 million tons grown on 600 million hectares of land.  In 2010, 2,213 million tons of grain were grown on 692 million hectares of land. That’s a 280 percent increase in yield per land unit! We would have needed an additional 1.9 billion hectares of land, instead of the 692 million used, had the global cereal harvest rates of 1950 prevailed in 2010 using the same conventional farming methods.

If farmers were to return to conventional tillage techniques across all farmland, millions of acres of forest would need to be converted to farmland for a growing population. In that scenario, more herbicides would be needed on more acres, posing a threat to the environment. One of the important benefits of biotechnology is that it minimizes the need for mechanical tillage. This reduces soil erosion, provides wildlife habitat and contributes to biodiversity.

Farmers are committed to no-till and reduced tillage methods made possible by biotechnology. Reduced tillage helps reduce global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere and allows the natural fungi that grow on plant roots to produce glomalin, a protein that naturally sequesters carbon and keeps it within the soil. Reduced tillage soil increases in value, becomes richer and more sustainable, holds more nutrients and protects against runoff.

The adoption of GM crops has been associated with a small but statistically significant reduction in aggregate pesticide use. While the substitution induced by the use of herbicide-tolerant soybeans results in a small overall change in pounds of herbicides, glyphosate replaces other synthetic herbicides that are at least three times as toxic to humans and that persist in the environment nearly twice as long as glyphosate. USDA Economics Research Department, 2010

In addition, chemical companies have seen a decrease in the sale of chemicals used to control crop-eating insects. In 2008 Monsanto told investors to expect farm chemical sales to fall $1 billion or 28 percent because biotech crops reduced demand for pesticides.

THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEAT PRODUCED WITH FEED MADE FROM GENETICALLY MODIFIED GRAINS OR CONVENTIONAL GRAINS

In compilations of studies from around the world using feed developed from genetically modified (GM) grains, researchers could not document any adverse effects on the animals that were fed GM grain. MacKenzie and McLean (2002) reviewed 15 feeding studies of dairy cattle, beef cattle, swine and chickens published between 1995 and 2001. The feeds studied were insect- and/or herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans, and animals were fed a transgenic or conventional product for periods ranging from 35 days for poultry to two years for beef cattle. None of these studies found any adverse effects on the animals fed the transgenic products for any of the measured parameters, which included nutrient composition, body weight, feed intake, feed conversion, milk production, milk composition, rumen fermentation, growth performance or carcass characteristics. Two of the studies found slight improvements in feed conversion rates for animals fed insect-resistant grain, possibly because of lower concentrations of aflatoxins that result from insect damage. GreenFacts.org http://www.greenfacts.org/en/gmo/3-genetically-engineered-food/6-genetically-modified-animal.htm

Jimmy Clark, a professor of ruminant nutrition in Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois, reviewed the results from 23 research experiments conducted over four years at universities throughout the U.S., Germany, and France. In each study, separate groups of chickens, dairy cows, beef cattle, and sheep were fed either genetically modified corn or soybeans or traditional corn or soybean as a portion of their diet.

Each experiment independently confirmed that there is no significant difference in the animals’ ability to digest the genetically modified crops and no significant difference in the weight gain, milk production, milk composition, and overall health of the animals when compared to animals fed the traditional crops. Clark concluded, “Based on safety analyses required for each crop, human consumption of milk, meat, and eggs produced from animals fed genetically modified crops should be as safe as products derived from animals fed conventional crops.”

2001, Debra Larson, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign http://www.monsanto.co.uk/news/ukshowlib.phtml?uid=5022;

THE PUBLIC IS OFTEN SUBJECTED TO MISLEADING INFORMATION ABOUT THE BENEFITS AND SAFETY OF BIOTECHNOLOGY

Although science has shown time after time that GM crops and food made from those crops are safe, critics of biotech have created a fear-based, sophisticated and intransigent mythology surrounding the safety of GM foods despite 15 years of hard scientific evidence. Minnesota Soybean believes there is room for all types of agriculture and that people have the right to choose the food they eat if it has been proven safe.

Some misconceptions surrounding biotech include:

Biotech foods are not regulated: Biotech crops and their food products are regulated by the (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Testing of biotech crops before they are introduced to market takes from six to 12 years.

Organic or conventional crops are more nutritious or safer than biotech crops: Biotech crops are cleaner, more uniform and safer than organic and conventionally grown foods; and are nutritionally comparable. In fact, scientists are working to develop biotech crops that may actually be more nutritious and healthy than conventional and organic crops. For instance, rice has been developed with higher levels of Vitamin A, and future biotech soybeans may produce lower levels of saturated fats and trans fats in oils. Researchers are working to develop allergy-free peanuts and soybeans that will benefit up to seven million Americans who suffer from food allergies. Biotech foods taste exactly the same as regular foods and organic foods. Studies have shown that they do not taste any different, appear any different, nor affect the human body differently. They are also nutritionally equivalent to organic and conventionally grown crops.

The reasons why other countries ban biotech crops and foods is because they are unsafe: There is widespread agreement among scientists on the safety of biotech crops and foods. Over 3,200 renowned scientists worldwide have signed a declaration in support of agricultural biotechnology (http://www.agbioworld.org) and its safety to humans, animals, and the environment. Those countries that refuse biotech foods and crops do so because of political, cultural and socioeconomic reasons that are not based on any scientific evidence.

Using biotechnology to improve plants is not natural: Since the Stone Age, farmers have been using breeding techniques to genetically modify crops to improve quality and yield. Modern biotechnology is the most recent in a long list of tools, including selective breeding, hybridization and crossbreeding. In fact, biotechnology is the most efficient and cost-effective method available for plant breeders and is simply another step in the evolution of plant breeding techniques adapted from genetic phenomenon scientists have found widely in nature.

Biotech crops will cause “superweeds” to develop: Biotech opponents have promoted the concept of “superweeds” which could form by taking on herbicide-resistant characteristics of biotech crops grown in the same field. These “superweeds” will grow out of control and be resistant to weed killers. In cases where gene flow can and does take place, the resulting weeds resistant to the herbicide used with the biotech crop remain controllable with many other herbicides and a variety of intercropping and cultivation techniques. Far from being unique, or even particularly problematic with crops improved through biotechnology. Resistance is a well-known phenomenon that farmers have a long history of managing successfully

BIOTECHNOLOGY IS AN ESSENTIAL SCIENCE FOR EFFICIENTLY RAISING THE CROPS NEEDED TO FEED THE WORLD

Despite sophisticated crop production capabilities, every year close to half of the world’s harvest and 23 percent of U.S. crops are lost to insects, weeds, and diseases.  (International Food Policy Research Institute) In the U.S., each season fewer acres are available for farming due to expanding urbanization and other land uses.  Through the application of technology, including biotechnology, U.S. farmers are becoming more efficient, producing more food on fewer acres, while protecting the environment through conservation of soil, water, and energy resources. Technology, including biotechnology, is helping U.S. farmers meet global demands for meat and grains, and their ability to feed more people will open new markets and new prosperity in America.

Father of the “Green Revolution” Norman Borlaug said that biotechnology will help developing countries see gains in agriculture production. In an article published by www.actionbioscience.org Borlaug stated: “Biotechnology will help these countries accomplish things that they could never do with conventional plant breeding. The technology is more precise, and farming becomes less time-consuming. The public needs to be better informed about the importance of biotechnology in food production so it won’t be so critical.”

Talking Points

Biotechnology Helps Farmers Feed the World and Conserve Natural Resources

Key Message:

Biotechnology has brought significant positive advancements to the production of soybeans and other crops. Farmers look ahead with anticipation to the continued development of transgenic traits that will help them produce even higher quality food for a growing world population while continuing to minimize the impact of agriculture on the environment.

  1. Biotechnology is a proven and safe tool farmers are using to feed the world
  • Biotechnology is a proven, safe tool that helps farmers produce food efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner. It is needed so future world trade of food and feed can meet the challenge of feeding a growing population.
  • Farmers use technology from scientists worldwide, including biotechnology, to overcome the challenges of producing crops in stressful conditions.
  • These challenges include pressure from weeds, insects, disease, and climate.
  • Biotechnology is making it possible for farmers to produce quality crops while minimizing the use of chemicals, fertilizers water and land.
  • Consumers will soon see new benefits of biotechnology in the form of healthier foods, such as heart-healthy soybean oils.
  • Some of the most exciting and nutritionally beneficial biotechnology traits will be available from the soybean, already one of the world’s most versatile and valuable sources of protein and oil.
  1. Biotechnology use and acceptance is growing worldwide.
  • Since genetically engineered crops were introduced in 1996, usage in the United States has grown rapidly, accounting for nearly 90 percent of soybean, corn, and cotton acreage in 2011.
  • In 2010 the acreage planted to biotech crops worldwide grew by 10 percent.
  • Today 14 million farmers in 29 countries are using agricultural biotechnology.
  • By 2015 the number of biotech farmers worldwide is expected to reach 20 million in more than 40 countries.
  • Biotechnology supporters in Europe are working for a unified policy that allows farmers and food and feed processors to use genetically engineered crops.
  • A study in Italy shows that 53 percent of farmers in two Italian agriculture districts would like to plant genetically modified corn, and 35 percent of consumers are willing to buy products made with genetically modified corn.
  • Most EU member states are now drafting specific coexistence measures for GMO crop cultivation. In 2011 a Vatican science panel supported the adaption of Biotech crops to help feed a hungry world.
  1. Biotechnology benefits Minnesota soybean farmers through increased yields, crop protection, and management flexibility.
  • Herbicide-resistant soybeans provide farmers with more efficiency, simplicity, flexibility and worker safety in the production of crops.
  • They allow farmers to control weeds while reducing the use of herbicides.
  • They save time, energy and costs by reducing the number of trips across fields to cultivate for weed control.
  • Crops resistant to herbicides allow farmers to wait until weed growth peaks, so when the herbicide is sprayed, the weeds have a harder time
  • Herbicide-resistant crops require less tillage for weed control, which benefits the environment.
  • Farmers are careful to apply only recommended rates of herbicides on their fields to protect the technology and prevent weed resistance.
  1. Genetically modified crops are heartier and better for the environment than conventional varieties.
  • Researchers say genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans are heartier and better for the environment than conventional varieties.
  • The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association does not support setting up an “either/or” premise between biotechnology and conventional crops or organically grown crops.
  • Farmers should have a choice in the seed they plant, and consumers should have a choice in the products they purchase.
  • While it would be impossible for farmers to meet world food demands and sustain natural resources without biotechnology, farmers who choose to plant conventional seed or to farm organically should have the freedom to do that.
  • Similarly, consumers who can afford to purchase certified organic products should have that choice.
  • 10 million acres of Bt corn (resistance to European corn borer) provides the following benefits to farmers and the public, according to Dr. Marlin Rice, Iowa State University:
  • Better pest control with reduced exposure to insecticides
  • $231 million in yield gains
  • Reduced stalk lodging for improved harvest efficiency and lower fuel costs
  • Reduction in pesticide use by 5.5 million pounds of active ingredient
  • Reduced farm waste from insecticide containers
  • Less water used to apply insecticide (5.5 million gallons of water conserved)
  • Better conditions for wildlife and non-target organisms;
  • Reduced crop insurance premiums because corn protected from insects is less likely to fail
  • Reduced public expenditures for federal crop insurance
  • There are many benefits of herbicide-resistant soybeans:
    • Reduced use of machinery, fuel, and labor (Fuel costs can be reduced as much as 50 percent and labor costs up to 40 percent)
  • Reduction of intensive methods of weed management such as tillage and application of herbicides
  • Fewer passes over the field reduces wear and tear on equipment
  • Biotechnology will play a role in expanding the world’s supply of food, feed, and renewable fuels.
  • Yield increases facilitated by biotechnology are accelerating yield increases in soybeans while improving the sustainability of U.S. soybean production.
  • Over the last 20 years, U.S. soybean yields have been edging upward about 1.7 percent per year.
  1. Consumer benefits from biotechnology will expand to direct nutritional benefits.
  • The benefit of biotechnology to consumers is primarily through the increased food production and reduced environmental impact realized by farmers.
  • Soon, consumers will enjoy direct nutritional benefits provided by biotechnology, such heart-healthy properties.
  • These include Omega-3s, which promote heart health; low-linolenic soybean oil that reduces or eliminates trans fats, and stearic acid oil, which help neutralize cholesterol.
  • The biotechnology traits available in crops today already are providing a consumer benefit through cleaner grains for food processing. Grain from GM corn shows less damage from insects and is less likely to contain harmful molds and fungus.
  • More of the farmers’ grain meets food processors purity standards, and a plentiful grain supply helps keep food costs affordable for consumers.
  • Herbicide-resistant soybeans have fewer weed seeds in the harvested crop, which results in better quality for food producers and ultimately consumers.
  • Additional traits valuable to food processors and ultimately consumers include a corn-expressed phytase enzyme, vitally important for efficient meat production; and corn-expressed amylase, a critical ingredient in the production of ethanol.
  1. Many regulators worldwide agree on the safety of biotechnology.
  • Commercial biotech crops and foods have been thoroughly assessed for food, feed, and environmental safety according to well-established, internationally accepted scientific standards and guidelines.
  • Companies must comply with the rules and regulations designated to ensure product safety.
  • Scientific and regulatory authorities around the world have found genetically engineered crops to be wholesome, nutritious, and equal in safety to conventional crops and foods.
  • The U.S. government has a coordinated, risk-based system to ensure new biotechnology products are safe for the environment and human and animal health.
  • Typical testing of biotech crops includes food safety, protein safety, allergy assessment, substantial equivalence, which quantifies how a genetically engineered crop compares to a conventional one, and environmental safety.
  • A rigorous and comprehensive set of data is generated on every plant biotechnology product before commercialization.
  • It takes several years of testing in the lab and field to conduct the studies needed to satisfy the requirements of the regulatory agencies. 
  1. Biotechnology helps the environment.
  • Biotechnology helps farmers produce higher yields on less land — a definate benefit for the environment. One of the important benefits of biotechnology is that it minimizes the need for mechanical tillage. This reduces soil erosion, provides wildlife habitat and contributes to biodiversity.
  • The trend towards more no-till and reduced tillage methods made possible by biotechnology also helps reduce global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Reduced cultivation allows the natural fungi that grow on plant roots to produce glomalin, a protein that naturally sequesters carbon and keeps it in the soil. Biotech herbicide-tolerant crops grown with reduced tillage practices provide a healthier cropland soil, with more glomalin and carbon-holding capacity.
  • Because of biotechnology, chemical companies have seen a decrease in the sale of crop protection products.
  1. There is no difference between meat produced with feed made from genetically modified grains or conventional grains.
  • In studies from around the world using feed developed from genetically modified (GM) grains, researchers could not document any adverse effects on the animals fed GM grain.
  • No studies have found any adverse effects on animals fed the transgenic products. Two of the studies found slight improvements in feed conversion rates for animals fed insect-resistant grain, possibly because of lower concentrations of aflatoxins that result from insect damage.
  1. The public is often subjected to misleading information about the benefits and safety of biotechnology.
  • Fear mongering about biotechnology is easily generated through unsubstantiated claims using junk research and selective data.
  1. Biotechnology is an essential science for efficiently raising crops needed to feed the world.
  • Every year close to half of the world’s harvest is lost to insects, weeds, and diseases. And in the U.S., each season fewer acres are available for farming due to expanding urbanization and other land uses.
  • Through the application of technology, including biotechnology, U.S. farmers are becoming more efficient, producing more food on fewer acres, while protecting the environment through conservation of soil, water, and energy resources. Biotechnology is helping U.S. farmers meet global demands for meat and grains, and their ability to feed more people will open new markets and new prosperity in America.
  • Biotechnology can make plants thrive with less water or applied nutrients, which may open new land to farming and food production.
  • Biotechnology will play a key role in expanding the world’s supply of food, feed, and renewable fuels.
  • Yield increases facilitated by biotechnology and other modern plant breeding methods are accelerating yield increases in soybeans while improving the sustainability of U.S. soybean production.

 

 

 

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