Over the past 15 years, farmers around the world have planted ever larger tracts of genetically engineered crops.
According to the USDA, in 2012 more than 93 percent of soy planted was “herbicide tolerant,” engineered to withstand herbicides (sold by the same companies who patent and sell the seeds). Likewise, 73 percent of all corn now is also genetically modified to withstand chemicals produced to kill competing weeds.
One of the main arguments behind creating these engineered crops is that farmers then need to use less herbicide and pesticide. This makes farms more eco-friendly, say proponents of genetically modified (GM) crops, and GM seeds also allow farmers to spend less on “inputs” (chemicals), thereby making a greater profit.
But a new study released by Food & Water Watch yesterday finds the goal of reduced chemical use has not panned out as planned. In fact, according to the USDA and EPA data used in the report, the quick adoption of genetically engineered crops by farmers has increased herbicide use over the past 9 years in the U.S. The report follows on the heels of another such study by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook just last year.