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RESEARCH REPORTS
FARM BIOTECH INTENTIONS DECLINE
Farmers' planting intentions for GMO varieties of corn and soybeans in 2000 declined from November to January according to surveys of Midwestern farmers by Agricultural Education and Consulting (AEC), Savoy, Ill. This information was collected from surveys sent in November 1999 and January 2000 to members of a farmer panel maintained by Farm Research Institute (FRI), a subsidiary of AEC. The surveys' objectives were to assess Midwestern farmers' attitudes toward biotech seeds and adoption of biotech.

Responses to the two surveys provide insight about:

1. How the surveyed producers' attitudes toward biotech issues have evolved from harvest to pre-planting,

2. The problems farmers face in marketing their 1999 biotech crops,

3. And what information sources influence producers' decisions about biotech seed use in 2000.

The responding farmers' intentions to plant biotech corn acres declined 26 percent from 23.8 percent to 17.7 percent of total intended acres between the November and January surveys. However, the total acres intended for biotech soybeans has declined only 6 percent from 51.3 percent to 48.4 percent.

Another noted change from November to January is the farmers' intentions for planting conventional soybean acres with saved seed. Responding farmersí intention to plant saved soybean seed increased 23.1 percent.

Despite the increased intention to plant with saved soybean seeds and the decline in biotech acreage intentions, comfort with biotech issues appears to have increased from November to January among the surveyed farmers. This increase came from a number of dimensions spanning from agronomics to the ability to market biotech grain.

Segregation of biotech varieties is an important issue from the farm gate to the processor. At the producer level, it appears that a small proportion of farmers intend to increase their capacity to segregate biotech varieties from non-biotech varieties. The number of respondents reporting an intention to increase segregation capacity rose from 5 percent to 7 percent between November and January. However, the surveyed farmers increasing their segregation capacity tend to be the larger producers. In fact, they tend to have two times the acreage above the average of the rest of the respondents. AM


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