Independent Expert

Janet Carpenter

Owner, J E Carpenter Consulting LLC M.S. Agricultural and Resource Economics

I have been working on understanding the reasons farmers worldwide are adopting GMO crops and estimating the impacts of GMO crop technology for 15 years, starting in the late 1990s when we were witnessing high adoption rates for insect-resistant corn and cotton and herbicide-tolerant soybeans in the U.S. and other countries. At this point, the accumulated evidence on the impacts and safety of GMO crops is extensive. I have enjoyed reviewing this body of evidence in my most recent work, addressing direct economic impacts, impacts on biodiversity and the broad socioeconomic impacts of currently commercialized technology globally.

From this Expert

Posted On: Friday, 3/07/2014 1:30 pm
A: The answer to this seemingly straightforward question is, unfortunately, not so simple. However, when we look across the eight crops for which GM varieties are currently grown commercially in the U.S. (corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets, canola, alfalfa, squash and papaya), most of them are used for animal feed, biofuel, textiles or other industrial uses, not directly for food. Of the food uses, most of the GM food reaches grocery store shelves in the form of processed products. Currently,... Continue Reading
Posted On: Saturday, 8/10/2013 7:52 pm
A: The impact that GMO crops have had on yields is dependent on several factors.  The first wave of GMO crops to be commercialized has embodied traits intended to improve pest management and therefore reduce or eliminate losses from insect damage or weed competition.  These technologies do not raise yield potential, but they can improve yields substantially, especially where conventional insect- and weed-management control technologies are limited in their effectiveness or availability... Continue Reading
Posted On: Monday, 8/05/2013 11:56 am
A: I would encourage a critical read of the paper that you reference, as the conclusions are not based on any careful analysis of the similarities and differences between North American and European production systems.  As I indicated in a response to an earlier question about the Heinemann paper, I believe the authors’ “conclusions” are better characterized as assertions.  First of all, it is important to recognize the multitude of factors that influence yields and pesticide use, such... Continue Reading
Posted On: Friday, 8/02/2013 2:50 pm
A: While the yield benefits of currently commercialized GM crops in developed countries such as the U.S. may not be large, surveys of farmers in both developed and developing countries show that GM crop farmers in developing countries have achieved much greater yield increases.  Currently commercialized technologies are intended to improve pest management and therefore reduce or eliminate losses for insect damage or weed competition.  In developed countries, these technologies have... Continue Reading
Posted On: Wednesday, 7/31/2013 1:42 pm
A: The facts do not support the idea that GM crops are more heavily reliant on petroleum than conventional or organic crops. One of the largest uses of petroleum in agriculture is for running machinery across fields to mechanically control weeds through tillage operations. Prior to the introduction of GM herbicide-tolerant crops, farmers were already adopting reduced tillage practices, which were made possible with the availability of selective postemergent herbicides that could be used on... Continue Reading
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