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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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New study shows positive environmental and sustainability impacts from GM crops

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At Monsanto, we’re committed to sustainable agriculture to meet the needs of our growing population and also preserving the environment. Many tools that can help us achieve this goal, but one very important tool has enabled farmers from across the globe to be more productive and sustainable – biotechnology. We’ve seen the benefits of biotechnology firsthand, but instead of us telling you about it, we wanted to share the findings of a recent third-party study.

PG Economics Ltd. this week released a new study revealing the global economic and environmental impact of genetically modified crops (GM crops) since they were first widely adopted nearly 20 years ago. Specifically, the study found:

  • GM crops contributed to significantly reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural practices, such as using less fuel and additional soil storage from reduced tillage. In 2012, the combined GM crop-related carbon dioxide emission savings were equal to removing 11.88 million cars from the road.
  • The technology in GM crops that enables plants to tolerate insects and weeds has resulted in a significant reduction in pesticide use over the past 20 years. As a result, from 1996-2012, GMO crops helped farmers reduce pesticides by more than 1 billion pounds.
  • GM crops are allowing farmers to grow more without using additional land. If GM crops had not been available to farmers using the technology in 2012, maintaining global production levels would have required additional plantings equivalent to nine percent of the arable land in the United States.
  • Biotechnology has had a positive impact on farmers’ incomes.  Since 1996, farmers who grew GM crops across the globe earned $116.8 billon, and $18.8 billion in 2012 alone.

The study also concluded that GM crops are allowing farmers to grow more with less land. This is an important finding as we know the amount of arable land is declining. In fact, over about 90 years, we’ll go from having an average of one acre of farmland per person, per year, to less than a third of an acre.

You can find the full report on PG Economics website and below is an infographic that highlights a few of the findings. If you’re interested in learning more about the many benefits of biotechnology, we’ve outlined a few other third-party studies in a recent blog post.

gmo infographic facts-02

11 Responses to "New study shows positive environmental and sustainability impacts from GM crops"

  1. Who did the research? You? FACT: GM foods cause disease and farmers die world wide. Nice try, not buying it. Literally.

    • Monsanto did not do the research. If your statement is a fact, can you name one person who’s been made ill or died because of GM food?

      • Hey, I do like what Monsanto is doing. And btw Good Job! Those are amazing results. I do have a question regarding the gm crop, if a lady bug, cetepede, fly, or bee lands in a gm crop, will they all die? And vice versa if those bugs land in a non gm crop who uses pesticides will they die? I did some research into that lab rat study with the tumors and it was a setup study those rats were prone to tumors, it was not monsantos food that did it. Keep up the good hard work.

      • ” Investigations in the state of Haryana, India revealed that most buffalo that ate GM cottonseed had complications such as premature deliveries, abortions, infertility, and prolapsed uteruses. Many calves died. In the US, about two dozen farmers reported thousands of pigs became sterile after consuming certain GM corn varieties. Some had false pregnancies; others gave birth to bags of water. Cows and bulls also became infertile when fed the same corn.”
        “The experience of actual GM-fed experimental animals is scary. When GM soy was fed to female rats, most of their babies died within three weeks—compared to a 10% death rate among the control group fed natural soy. The GM-fed babies were also smaller, and later had problems getting pregnant.”

    • Please list your sources and provide peer reviewed scientific publications that prove ” GM foods cause disease”. Fact of the matter Amanda, is that more independent research has been done for GM foods than almost anything. There has not been one instance where it’s been shown to cause disease. Don’t believe me though! You need to do research on BOTH sides and CHECK YOUR SOURCES. I cannot stress that enough. There is an information war going on that is taking advantage of your fear.

  2. I wasn’t involved in the study but I will agreed with all these benefits on my own farm and I have all the no. To prove it

  3. “Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had warned about all these problems even in the early 1990s. According to documents released from a lawsuit, the scientific consensus at the agency was that GM foods were inherently dangerous, and might create hard-to-detect allergies, poisons, gene transfer to gut bacteria, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged their superiors to require rigorous long-term tests.[xxvii] But the White House had ordered the agency to promote biotechnology and the FDA responded by recruiting Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, to head up the formation of GMO policy. That policy, which is in effect today, denies knowledge of scientists’ concerns and declares that no safety studies on GMOs are required. It is up to Monsanto and the other biotech companies to determine if their foods are safe. Mr. Taylor later became Monsanto’s vice president.”

    • The source for the Food Matters report in both comments is the Institute for Responsible Technology, which has never let science and fact stand in the way of promoting an anti-GM position.

  4. This article is very important. They are just trying to counter this recent publication

    “The scientific evidence presented in this report shows that the hypothetical benefits of GM crops and foods are not worth the known risks. It is time to face up to what the evidence tells us about GMOs and stop pretending that GMOs can do anything that non-GM agriculture and good farming can’t do far better, at a fraction of the cost, and without the restrictions attached to patent ownership….Agricultural genetic engineering is not a smart or useful enough technology to succeed on its own merits.”


    Because GM must prove that they provide benefits despite the $4 labs, legal process, computer security, patents, etc….The extra costs and salaries must be justified for a food that is at the end the same.

  5. Pingback: The Future of Modified Food | geneticallymodifiedfoodsblog

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