In the June Agricultural Survey, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced the total percentage of biotechnology corn acreage rose to 52% in 2005, a 5% increase from 2004.
The categories of biotech corn used by NASS are: Insect Resistant (Bt), Herbicide Resistant and Stacked Gene Varieties.
"These new data demonstrate the value of biotechnology," says National Corn Growers Association Biotech Working Group Chairman Darren Ihnen. "Farmers realize its value for their operations. Weâ€™re seeing the environmental benefits by using fewer pesticides."
According to the NASS survey, South Dakota leads the nation with 83% of its corn acreage planted to biotech hybrids. Nebraska is second at 69%.
Noting every state increased its biotech acreage by at least 3%, Ihnen says increased yields and lower production costs make biotech corn attractive.
"Farmers have great confidence in biotechnology," Ihnen says. "The seed companies know weâ€™re willing to use the products if they keep producing quality products."
"Weâ€™re seeing the benefits of new technology," says NCGA President Leon Corzine. "Weâ€™re becoming more efficient, and weâ€™re increasing our production and the quality of our product in a more environmentally friendly way."
Ihnen also says biotech corn is safe and believes the trade barriers set up by some countries on biotech corn should come down.
"This helps to prove to the rest of the world that biotech is safe," he says. "Itâ€™s a quality product. Thereâ€™s no reason to have any trade barriers."
"We have 10 years of history on our side," adds Corzine. "We can assure our customers that these products are safe. There are no reports of anyone getting sick from a biotech product."