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Global production and use of ethanol has increased since 2000

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Worldwide production and use of ethanol as an alternative to fossil fuel has increased dramatically since 2000. Ethanol demand is being driven by rising world crude oil prices, increased use of ethanol as an environmentally friendly fuel oxygenate, and government incentives in many countries to reduce dependence on fossil fuel by increasing the use of renewable energy sources. Global ethanol use will continue to rise over the next decade if countries fulfill their ethanol use targets. This chart may be found in the December 2011 issue of Amber Waves magazine.

Adoption of "stacked" GE varieties of corn accelerates

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Adoption of herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, which carry genes that allow them to survive certain herbicides that previously would have destroyed the crop along with the targeted weeds, has been particularly rapid since they first became available to U.S. farmers in 1996. HT-only corn expanded to 23 percent of planted corn acreage in 2011. Adoption of insect-resistant (Bt) crops, containing the gene from a soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), has also expanded. Use of Bt-only corn has remained around 16 percent of planted corn acreage in the last few years. Adoption of "stacked" gene corn varieties, though, has accelerated in recent years, reaching 49 percent of planted corn acres in 2011. This chart comes from the ERS data product, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S., updated in July 2011.

Expanding the ethanol industry may influence long-term trends in the livestock industry

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Access to distiller's wet grains (a derivative of ethanol processing used as a feed supplement for beef and dairy cattle) could spur increased concentrations of beef and dairy herds near ethanol processing facilities. Spreading manure on energy feedstock crops and potential use of animal waste for onsite power generation provide additional incentives for herd expansion near processing facilities. Ethanol's reliance on corn as the primary feedstock and the high concentration of ethanol processing facilities in the Corn Belt could slow or reverse the recent shift in animal concentrations from the Midwest. In fact, current and planned ethanol production capacities appear to correlate strongly with the presence of livestock and, in particular, with livestock's capacity for distiller's grain consumption. This map is from the ERS research report, Ethanol and a Changing Agricultural Landscape, ERR-86, November 2009.

Several factors influence food-related energy use

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

About half of the growth in food-related energy use between 1997 and 2002 is explained by a shift from human labor toward a greater reliance on energy-intensive technologies. High labor costs in the foodservices and food processing industries, combined with household outsourcing of manual food preparation and cleanup efforts through increased consumption of prepared foods and more eating out, appear to be driving this result. Increases in per capita food expenditures (adjusted for inflation) and population growth also helped drive up food-related energy use over this period, with each trend accounting for roughly a quarter of the total increase. Data for 2007 show an 8-percent increase in food-related energy use since 2002. This chart was originally published in the ERS report, Energy Use in the U.S. Food System, ERR-94, March 2010.

U.S. genetically engineered (GE) crop adoption has grown steadily since their introduction in 1996

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Adoption of herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, which carry genes that allow them to survive certain herbicides that previously would have destroyed the crop along with the targeted weeds, has been particularly rapid since they first became available to farmers in 1996. HT soybeans expanded to 93 percent of U.S. soybean planted acreage, HT cotton reached 78 percent of cotton acreage, and HT corn expanded to 70 percent of the corn acreage in 2010. Adoption of insect-resistant (Bt) crops, containing the gene from a soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), has also expanded. Use of Bt cotton reached 73 percent of planted cotton acreage in 2010 and Bt corn use grew from about 1 percent of corn acreage in 1996 to 63 percent in 2010. This chart and the underlying data are available in the ERS data product, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S., July 2010.

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