WASHINGTON (Nov. 20, 2006) — (AgNewsWire) With ethanol demand at record highs and existing strong food use of corn, some experts are wondering where the extra corn will come from. A new study released today by the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy (National Center) suggests that biotechnology plays an important role in meeting this increased demand for corn production.
According to the study, U.S. farmers gained an additional 8.3 billion pounds of yield last year due to biotech crops, including an extra 7.6 billion pounds of corn production, a 29 percent increase over 2004’s harvest. Since the commercialization of plant biotechnology in the late 1990s, corn production has benefited by an extra 39 billion pounds of yield, equivalent to 1.9 billion gallons of ethanol production. These continued yield increases will be a key factor in meeting future demand as corn prices hit 10-year highs and corn used for ethanol production is predicted to jump 34 percent in 2007.
“The study indicates we have been able to make significant advances in corn production through biotechnology-derived varieties,” says Jill Long-Thompson, chief executive officer of the National Center and an Indiana farmer. “Energy independence is imperative for our nation’s future. Utilizing renewable sources like corn for energy needs helps achieve these goals and supports our nation’s farmers.”