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American Corn Growers third GM survey: 77% believe consumer concerns important

(July 16, 2001 CropChoice news) Upon completion of its third annual survey about transgenic crops, the American Corn Growers Association found that producers reported planting 6 percent fewer acres to transgenic corn varieties in 2001 than the previous year.

Robinson and Muenster Associates, Inc. of Sioux Falls, S.D., performed the survey for the Association. It polled 509 farmers in fourteen states from June 14 to June 23. The farmers surveyed reported planting 526,118 total acres to corn in 2001. The random, scientific survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent. Using the June USDA-NASS planted corn acreage reported for the fourteen states, the survey estimates that farmers in those major corn growing states, which represent 88 percent of total U.S. corn acreage, planted 21 percent of their total corn acreage to GMO corn varieties in 2001.

"Of the growers surveyed, 77 percent feel that consumer and foreign market concerns about GMOs are very or somewhat important and 78 percent said they are willing to plant traditional, non-GMO corn varieties instead of biotech GMO varieties in order to keep world markets open to U.S. corn," said Larry Mitchell, CEO of the American Corn Growers Association. "Farmers believe 'the customer is always right,' a pretty basic marketing premise for being successful in business and keeping customers for the future."

"Our analysis revealed that 73.7 percent of the farmers in the survey believe customer rejection of GMOs contributes to the ongoing low commodity prices received by corn growers and 56 percent believe Congress should require the labeling of foods and export cargoes to show GMO levels," said Dan McGuire, Policy Committee Chairman for the non-profit farmers group that accepts no corporate donations. "It appears that farmers are responding to concerns about the impact that GMO varieties are having on export markets like Japan, South Korea and Europe."

"Corn producers have seen recent news reports that the Korean Corn Processing Association (KOCOPIA) is requesting international trading houses to replace U.S. corn with non-U.S. sources of corn and will indefinitely exclude the U.S. as an optional origin at future tender purchases," added McGuire. "This survey reaffirms the fact that the American farmer understands the importance of providing customers the products they demand. Of the farmers surveyed, 56 percent are tuned in to the reality that our export competitors are using non-GMO marketing initiatives."

To see the survey, go to http://www.acga.org/farmsurvey