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Lower transgenic corn acreage doesn't surprise American Corn Growers Association

(March 30, 2001 --Cropchoice news) -- The just-released planting intention numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showing a decrease in acres planted to genetically modified (GMO) corn should be no surprise to anyone, according to the American Corn Growers Association. At the same time, the Association is forecasting a 10 percent to 12 percent reduction once planting is completed.

"The StarLink debacle, continued foreign customer resistance to GMOs, concerns over legal liability caused by cross-pollination contamination, the demands for labeling and the burdens of on-farm segregation are all leading to farmer rejection of genetically modified corn," said Larry Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of American Corn Growers.

According to the USDA numbers, total planting of GMO corn acres will drop from 25 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2001. What bodes especially troubling for the biotechnology industry are the reductions in the three major corn-producing states. Iowa shows a drop from 30 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2001, Illinois shows a drop from 17 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2001 and Nebraska shows a huge drop from 34 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2001.

While the USDA's prospective plantings indicate a 1 percent reduction, the American Corn Growers Association anticipates a considerably larger drop of 10 percent to 12 percent in GMO planted corn acres. Our forecast is based on contacts with corn growers all across the country. A larger forecast drop is also consistent with last year's pattern, when USDA planting intentions showed a much smaller drop than did the Association's.

"Once planting is completed in late May, the ACGA will commission a scientific, randomly-selected, statistically valid survey of corn producers to determine the definitive planting numbers. This will be the third year the ACGA has performed this objective marketing service to the nation's corn producers," said Dan McGuire, ACGA Program Director.

Source: American Corn Growers Association