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Are U.S. Farmers Starting to Back Off from GE Corn?

Farm News from Cropchoice
An alternative news service for American farmers
http://www.cropchoice.com

8/16/2004
New survey shows farmers planted only about one-third of U.S. corn acres
to GMOs in 2004

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(Monday, Aug. 16, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- ACGF new release:
WASHINGTON -- A new nationwide survey of U.S. corn farmers found that
they planted only 34.4 percent of their total corn acres to genetically
modified (GMO), biotech varieties in 2004. Robinson and Muenster
Associates, Inc. of Sioux Falls, South Dakota conducted the survey for the
American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF) Farmer Choice-Customer First
program during June of 2004.

Five hundred farmers were polled in the sixteen top corn producing states
that represent 92 percent of 2004 corn acreage for harvest, according to
an Aug.12 USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Production
Report. Farmers surveyed had at least one hundred acres of corn. The
random, scientific and statistically valid survey has a margin of error of
+/- 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The 500 farmers
reported planting 208,414 total acres to corn, with 71,633 of those acres,
or 34.4 percent planted to GMO varieties, compared to the 32.2 percent
that those same farmers reported planting to GMO varieties in 2003. The
states included in the survey were: Iowa, Ill., Neb., Minn., Ind., Ohio,
S. D., Wisc., Kan., Mo., Mich., Ky., Texas, Colo., N. D. and Pa. A March
USDA prospective planting survey of corn farmers, done before corn
planting was underway, projected that 46 percent of corn acres would be
planted to GMO varieties in 2004. After planting was completed and the
seed was in the ground the ACGF survey found 34.4 percent.

"This survey suggests that U.S. corn farmers may well be taking the
concerns and demands of foreign consumers and importers into account in
their planting decisions by holding their GMO corn acres to only about a
third of the total acres they planted to corn this year," said Dan
McGuire, CEO of the ACGF. "Given the corn supply and demand reports
issued last Thursday by the USDA showing only 1.925 billion bushels of
corn exports this marketing year and with new crop corn prices in the
$1.80 per bushel range in South Dakota, U.S. corn farmers are right to be
concerned about the U.S. holding on to foreign markets. Farmers
understand that lost markets increase corn inventories and larger corn
stocks push prices down."

An Aug. 12, 2004 USDA crop supply and demand report showed the estimated
average corn price received by farmers in the current 2003/2004 marketing
year, which ends on August 31, to be $2.40 per bushel, with an average per
acre corn yield in 2003 of 142.2 bushels. USDA now projects the 2004
average corn yield to be a record 148.9 bushels per acre with an average
farm price of $2.25 per bushel for the new 2004/2005 marketing year
beginning Sept. 1, 2004 and ending Aug. 31, 2005.

McGuire added, "Even with the projected record yield for 2004, farmers
will average $5.51 less gross corn income per acre than in 2003 because of
lower prices. The 142 bushel per acre yield in 2003, at the average price
of $2.40, would have provided gross per acre income of $340.80, while the
projected 149 bushel, record average per acre yield for 2004, at the
average price of $2.25, will generate only $335.29 per acre, and of course
many farmers will get less than that average price and have lower than
average yields. Low corn prices have not delivered increased corn exports
as promoted by advocates of current farm and trade policy. PLUS, attempts
by the U.S. government and agribusiness to force foreign markets to accept
biotech corn varieties has not been a customer-oriented strategy to say
the least. It appears that the majority of U.S. corn farmers are putting
the customer first and factoring that into their seed choices."

Contact:
Dan McGuire (402) 489-1346
Gale Lush (308) 478-5562
RMA Research, Inc. contact: Jim Robinson (605) 332-7002

Survey results available at http://www.acgf.org/programs/nr/


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This GMO news service is underwritten by a generous grant from the Newman's
Own Foundation and is a production of the Ecological Farming Association
www.eco-farm.org <http://www.eco-farm.org/>
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