Genetically engineered (GE) seed varieties were commercially introduced in 1996. Adoption rates for these crops increased rapidly in the years that followed. Currently, over 90 percent of U.S. corn, upland cotton, soybeans, canola, and sugarbeets are produced using GE varieties.
ERS conducts research on a number of agricultural biotechnology issues, including:
- Extent of adoption of commercially available varieties of GE crops by U.S. farmers. See data on the extent of GE adoption (for corn, soybeans, and cotton) and The Adoption of Genetically Engineered Alfalfa, Canola and Sugarbeets in the United States (EIB-163, November 2016) for more information.
- Farmer motivations for adopting GE crops, the relationship between adoption of GE crops and yields, and the relationship between adoption of GE crops and pesticide use. See Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States (ERR-162, February 2014); The First Decade of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States (EIB-11, April 2006); and The Economics of Glyphosate Resistance Management in Corn and Soybean Production (ERR-184, April 2015) for more information on these issues.
- The economic effects of adoption of GE crops. See Off-Farm Income, Technology Adoption, and Farm Economic Performance (ERR-36, February 2007), for more on this topic.
- Research and development in the seed industry. See Chapter 2 of Research Investments and Market Structure in the Food Processing, Agricultural Input, and Biofuel Industries Worldwide (ERR-130, December 2011), and Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States (ERR-162, February 2014) for more on this topic.
- Consumer attitudes toward biotechnology and the role of consumer preferences in shaping market trends. See Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States (ERR-162, February 2014), and The First Decade of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States (EIB-11, April 2006) for more information on this.
- ERS has also initiated research on the coexistence of GE and organic/non-GE crop production. See Economic Issues in the Coexistence of Organic, Genetically Engineered (GE), and Non-GE Crops (EIB-149, February 2016) for more information on this.
A book from the National Research Council titled The Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States (2010) is a comprehensive assessment of the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the GE-crop revolution on U.S. farms.