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Report: GM crops good for world

Biotech and genetically modified crops have helped the world both environmentally and economically over the past 20 years, according to a new study by an agricultural advisory and consulting company.

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Biotech and genetically modified crops have helped the world both environmentally and economically over the past 20 years, according to a new study by an agricultural advisory and consulting company.

PG Economics Limited, based in England, provides specialized advisory and consultancy services in plant biotechnology, ag production systems, ag markets and policy.

Biotechnology refers to a wide range of tools that alter living organisms. Genetically modified crops refer to organisms produced through genetic modification.

On the environmental front, the report finds these benefits, among others, from biotech/GM crops:

• Reduced tillage meant 58.8 billion fewer pounds of carbon dioxide added into the atmosphere in 2015, or the equivalent of 11.9 million fewer cars on the road.

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• A 8.1 percent reduction from 1996 to 2015 in the amount of crop protection products sprayed worldwide.

The report also found many economic benefits, including:

• In 2015, the net farm level economic benefit was $15.5 billion. From 1996 to 2015, the net global farm income benefit was $167.7 billion.

• In 2015, for each extra dollar invested in biotech crop seeds globally, farmers netted an average $3.45. The economic gain was especially strong in developing countries, where farmers received $5.15 for each extra dollar invested in biotech crop seeds. Farmers in developed countries received $2.76 for each extra dollar invested in biotech crop seeds.

"Over the last 20 years, where farmers have been given access to and the choice of growing biotech/GM crops, they have consistently adopted the technology, contributing to a more sustainable food supply and a better environment where they live," Graham Brookes, director of PG Economics and co-author of the report, says in a written statement.

The report is available at " target="_blank">www.pgeconomics.co.uk/.

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