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Nationwide survey finds GMO corn acres held to 34 percent, support for consumer choices, overwhelming support for Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL)

(Wednesday, May 7, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- The following is a news release from the American Corn Growers Foundation.

Contact: Dan McGuire, (402) 489-1346

The recently completed national survey of corn producers by the American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF), conducted as farmers began corn planting in April, shows that U.S. corn farmers intend to plant only 34 percent of their total corn acres to genetically modified (GMO) corn varieties. Thatís 4 percent fewer GMO corn acres in 2003 than the 38 percent indicated by USDAís March survey, although within the margin of error of both surveys. The ACGF survey, conducted by Robinson and Muenster Associates, Inc. of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and completed on April 17, 2003 polled 511 corn farmers in the fourteen major corn producing states that represent 86 percent of total 2003 prospective corn acres according to the USDAís prospective corn plantings report issued March 31. The ACGF random, scientific survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. More complete survey data, will be posted on the ACGF website, http://www.acgf.org .acgf.org.

"The corn farmers surveyed reported that they will plant 210,039 acres of corn in 2003, a 1.4 percent increase over the 207,060 acres they reported planting to corn in 2002," said Dan McGuire, director of the Farmer Choice Ė Customer First information program. "Farmers are holding their GMO corn acres to only 34 percent and 53 percent see the rejection of GMO corn and soybeans by our largest export customers as contributing to low corn and soybean prices."

"Sixty-nine percent of corn farmers say itís either very or somewhat important to take the concerns of U.S. consumers and foreign markets into consideration when deciding whether or not to plant GMO varieties, and 80 percent say that if keeping their customers satisfied and keeping world markets open to U.S. corn means planting traditional, non-GMO corn varieties instead of biotech GMO varieties, they are willing to do that," reported McGuire. "These results show that U.S. farmers are aware that GMOs are costing the U.S. corn export sales, a fact confirmed by the president of Shinhan Flour Mills Co. of South Korea at a media breakfast in Washington, D.C. on May 2, 2003, when he pointed out that biotech corn caused South Korea to stop buying the grain from the U.S. in favor of shifting to Chinese and Brazilian corn."

The survey shows that 88 percent of corn farmers agree that U.S. farmers and the U.S. government should respect the rights of European, Japanese and all consumers worldwide so they are able to make a choice as to whether they and their children consume foods containing GMO commodities. 77 percent agree that the U.S. should not file a WTO (World Trade Organization) lawsuit against Europe regarding GMOs. "The survey also shows that farmers are uncertain as to whether the U.S. will continue to lose both corn and soybean exports if U.S. farmers continue to grow biotech corn and soybeans, with 44 percent saying yes, 44 percent saying no and 12 percent saying they donít know," added McGuire. "But there was no uncertainty regarding country of origin labeling as 91 percent of U.S. corn farmers surveyed said they believe the USDA should follow the law as passed by Congress, and its intent, by requiring country of origin labeling (COOL) on imported meat from foreign countries, the strongest area of agreement in the survey."

Seventy-seven percent said the most important reason not to plant GMO corn varieties is that farmers know that patented GMO varieties, with their technology agreements, give biotech seed companies too much power over farmers. 73 percent said farmers know that consumers in the U.S. and worldwide have health and safety concerns about GMOs. The survey questions and results are shown on the following pages.

Questions and Survey Results

2002 total corn acres 207,060 2002 GMO acres 59,735 28.8%
2003 total corn acres 210,039 2003 GMO acres 72,083 34.3%

  • We are interested in finding out how important it is for you, as a farmer to take concerns of U.S. consumers and foreign markets into consideration when you decide whether to plant GMO or traditional non-GMO corn varieties. Would you say it is important to you, not important or neither of those?

    69.1% NET Important
    39.7% Very important
    29.4% Somewhat important
    14.3% Neither important nor not important at all
    16.6% NET Not Important
    9.4% Somewhat not important at all
    7.2% Not Important at all, GMO corn varieties or traditional, non-GMO corn varieties

  • Do you believe that the U.S. will continue to lose both corn and soybean exports if U.S. farmers continue to grow Roundup Ready and other biotech GMO corn and soybean varieties?

    44.0%-Yes 44.0%-No 11.9%-Donít Know 0.0%-Refused

  • Is the rejection of U.S. GMO corn and soybeans by our largest export customers contributing to continued low corn and soybean prices?

    53.4%-Yes 34.8%-No 11.7%-Donít Know 0.0%-Refused

  • If keeping your customers satisfied and keeping world markets open to U.S. corn means planting traditional, non-GMO corn varieties instead of biotech GMO corn varieties, are you willing to do that?

    79.6%-Yes 16.4%-No 3.5%-Donít Know 0.4%-Refused

  • Should U.S. farmers and the U.S. government respect the rights of Europeans, Japanese and all consumers worldwide so they are able to make a choice as to whether they and their children consume foods containing GMO commodities?

    82.4%-Yes 10.6%-No 6.7%-Donít Know 0.4%-Refused

  • Do you believe that the U.S. Department of Agriculture should follow the law as passed by Congress and its intent by requiring Country of Origin labeling on imported meat from foreign countries?

    91.0%-Yes 5.5%-No 3.5%-Donít Know 0.0%-Refused

  • Do you agree or disagree that the U.S. should not file a WTO lawsuit against Europe regarding GMOs?

    76.5%-Agree 14.9%-Disagree 8.0%-Donít Know 0.6%-Refused

Only about 30% of U.S. corn acres are planted to GMO varieties. Farmers have given us a variety of reasons why they have held back on planting GMO corn. For each of these reasons tell me how important you think that reason is to you yourself as a reason not to plant GMO corn. Tell me if it is a very important reason, a somewhat important reason, not too important a reason or not important as a reason not to plant GMO corn.

  • GMO corn varieties threaten U.S. corn export sales

    70.1% NET Important Reason
    36.8% Very important reason
    33.3% Somewhat important reason
    28.2% NET Not Important Reason
    15.7% Not too important a reason
    12.5% Not at all important as a reason not to plant GMO corn
    1.8% Donít know
    0.0% Refused

  • Farmers know that consumers in the U.S. and worldwide have health and safety concerns about GMOs.

    72.7% NET Important Reason
    30.2% Very important reason
    42.5% Somewhat important reason
    24.7% NET Not Important Reason
    13.5% Not too important a reason
    11.2% Not at all important as a reason not to plant GMO corn
    2.5% Donít know
    0.0% Refused

  • Farmers know that patented GMO varieties with their technology agreements give biotech seed companies too much power over farmers.

    76.9% NET Important Reason
    49.0% Very important reason
    27.8% Somewhat important reason
    20.4% NET Not Important Reason
    11.4% Not too important a reason
    9.0% Not at all important as a reason not to plant GMO corn
    2.7% Donít know
    0.0% Refused

  • GMO seed corn varieties are too expensive.

    74.0% NET Important Reason
    45.4% Very important reason
    28.6% Somewhat important reason
    23.9% NET Not Important
    13.9% Not too important a reason
    10.0% Not at all important as a reason not to plant GMO corn
    2.2% Donít know
    0.0% Refused

  • There is no yield advantage from GMO corn varieties.

    40.6% NET Important Reason
    20.4% Very important reason
    20.2% Somewhat important reason
    52.2% NET Not Important Reason
    21.2% Not too important a reason
    31.0% Not at all important as a reason not to plant GMO corn
    7.3% Donít know
    0.0% Refused

  • Even when GMO corn varieties do yield more than conventional corn varieties, there is no net income advantage to my farm because of higher seed costs.

    58.5% NET Important Reason
    30.6% Very important reason
    28.2% Somewhat important reason
    37.1% NET Not Important Reason
    15.5% Not too important a reason
    21.6% Not at all important as a reason not to plant GMO corn
    4.1% Donít know
    0.0% Refused