WASHINGTON, DC.-- The results of a survey sponsored by the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) shows that those farmers who planted genetically modified (GMO) corn in 1999 will reduce their GMO planted acres by 16% in 2000. Agri Business Group, Inc., an internationally known agricultural marketing research and consulting firm, conducted this scientific, randomly-selected, statistically valid survey. The survey has a +/- 4.1% margin of error. Altogether, the survey contacted 582 corn growers in 17 states farming 214,098 acres of corn. 322 of those 582 corn growers planted GMO corn in 1999.
The survey also shows an 11% reduction in GMO planted acres from 1999 to 2000 among all the 582 farmers involved in the survey, both those who planted GMOs in 1999 and those who did not.
"The results of this survey are not surprising considering the level of uncertainty facing production agriculture over this issue," said Gary Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer of the ACGA. "It is clear that farmers are continuing to question the wisdom of planting GMOs for 2000."
The survey was performed as part of the ACGA's Farmer Choice-Customer First program that provides objective, honest, and unbiased information to farmers on the subject of GMOs. The program also seeks to ask many of the important questions surrounding the issue of GMOs and search for answers, such as the questions over marketability, certification, segregation, cross-pollination, corporate concentration, labeling and liability.
"Farmers are clearly caught in the middle of this debate. Everywhere farmers turn, another decision is being made that impacts production agriculture. The rules established by EPA to require the planting of a refuse between GMO and non-GMO crops; the decision by Frito-Lay and other food processors to only purchase non-GMOs; the Bio-safety Protocol which calls for labeling export shipments which will bring about on-farm
segregation; and the decision by grain elevators such as the Aurora, Nebraska Co-op to offer premiums for non-GMOs, only adds to the decision making burdens farmers are facing on the issue of GMOs," added Goldberg.
Other results of the survey show the following:
87% of farmers have ordered their seed for the upcoming planting season.
Asked if they have any concerns with GMOs, 35% responded that they did. When asked what they were most concerned about, 70% listed marketability of GMOs to foreign and domestic buyers as their top concern. 10% listed grain elevators not accepting GMO crops as their second most serious concern.
On the question of who should be responsible for liability resulting from pollen contamination, 50% said the seed company and 13% said the farmer planting the GMOs. 37% didn't know.
"Since last August, the ACGA has predicted a sizable reduction in GMO planted acres for 2000. Our scientific, randomly - selected survey should be the definitive answer to whether farmers are making the conscious decision to reject genetically modified corn. It is clear that the economic repercussions caused by the uncertainty of markets and the concerns over segregation have driven corn growers away from GMOs," added Goldberg.
Taking into consideration the prediction by the chemical and seed companies that there would be a 25% increase in GMO planted acres for this year, the ACGA's survey results of a 16% decrease shows overwhelming movement away from genetically modified corn by production agriculture.
"As more and more countries reject GMOs, it is clear that the time has come for U.S. grain exporters to supply the customer the product they want instead of the product the grain industry dictates they purchase. The 1996 Freedom to Farm legislation told farmers to grow for the market. With the market clearly requesting non-GMOs, farmers are responding to that call by growing more conventional corn to meet the market demands," concluded Goldberg.
More information on the survey can be found at the ACGA web site
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Last Updated on 2/23/00
By Karen Lutz