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ISU ag economist: No need to 'farm the county'

(Jan. 11, 2002 – CropChoice news) – Farmers have not realized appreciable benefit from planting herbicide-resistant soybeans and insect-resistant corn, according to a study by Michael Duffy, an agricultural economist and the associate director for Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. See study at http://www.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/duffy Nonetheless, they’ve adopted widely these first-generation genetically modified crops, but for different reasons, such as ease of weed control.

"These other reasons are similar to a lot of the technologies that we have; they give more output but with more costs and no more income," Duffy said.

When asked about what circumstances might cause farmers to stop growing genetically modified crops, he speculated on possible answers:

" One factor that might have people back off GMOs would be the realization that ‘I don't have to farm the county to make a living’ or that ‘I have enough money and other things are more important.’ Another factor would be if the markets really tightened with respect to tolerance for GMO's. Finally, the government programs have led to some of the desire to farm more acres. A change in the payment mechanism or what is targeted with the payments might also cause a shift."