Infographic: USDA data reveal dramatic growth of GMO crop adoption in US since 1996

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Herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, which tolerate potent herbicides (such as glyphosate, glufosinate, and dicamba), provide farmers with a broad variety of options for effective weed control. Based on USDA survey data, the percent of domestic soybean acres planted with HT seeds rose from 17 percent in 1997 to 68 percent in 2001, before plateauing at 94 percent in 2014.

HT cotton acreage expanded from approximately 10 percent in 1997 to 56 percent in 2001, and reached a high of 98 percent in 2019. Adoption rates for HT corn grew relatively slowly immediately following the commercialization of GE seeds. However, adoption rates increased following the turn of the century. Currently, approximately 90 percent of domestic corn acres are produced with HT seeds.

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Insect-resistant crops, which contain genes from the soil bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and produce insecticidal proteins, have been available for corn and cotton since 1996. Domestic Bt corn acreage grew from approximately 8 percent in 1997 to 19 percent in 2000, before climbing to 83 percent in 2019. Bt cotton acreage also expanded, from 15 percent of U.S. cotton planted acreage in 1997 to 37 percent in 2001. Currently, 92 percent of U.S. cotton acres are planted with genetically engineered, insect-resistant seeds.

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Image: USDA

Original infographic: Recent Trends in GE Adoption

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