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USDA RELEASES CHART SHOWING R&D EXPENDITURES AND REVENUES OF LARGEST SEED COMPANIES


Source: USDA

Total research and development (R&D) spending on crop improvement by the seven largest seed companies (as well as their legacy companies) increased from less than $2 billion in 1990 to more than $6.5 billion by 2021, closely tracking with increases in company revenues from seed and agrichemical sales.

Intellectual property rights protections for new seed innovations--especially genetically modified seeds--allow seed companies to set prices for their products with a temporary legal monopoly. The profits earned are a return for R&D investments and costs to commercialize the inventions.

These profits also allowed seed companies to spend more on crop R&D, accelerate the rate of new variety introductions with higher productivity potential, and charge higher prices reflecting the value of improved seeds.

Collectively, these 7 companies have invested about 10 percent of their agricultural revenues in R&D.


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