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, 11/25/2016 4:02 pm
A: According to USDA, the average U.S. soybean yield was 35.3 bushels/acre in 1995, the year before GM herbicide tolerant varieties were made commercially available. By 2016, with 94 percent of U.S. soybean acreage planted to GM herbicide tolerant varieties, average soybean yield had risen to 52.1 bushels/acre. However, crop yields vary from year to year and over time due to many factors. Year to year variability is largely due to differences in weather, while trends may be due to increased yield... Continue Reading
Posted On: Thursday, 9/08/2016 7:07 pm
A: Australia is one of the leading cotton producing countries in the world, and was among the first countries to allow planting of GM crops, with the commercialization of insect resistant Bt cotton in 1996. Prior to the introduction of Bt cotton, growers were reliant on conventional insecticides for effective insect control. With Bt cotton, growers have significantly reduced their use of conventional insecticides, while maintaining high yields. By 2014, adoption of Bt cotton by Australian cotton... Continue Reading
Posted On: Saturday, 3/19/2016 6:06 pm
A: GE crops are grown on nearly ½ of all U.S. cropland (182 million acres in 2012), while USDA-certified organic crops are grown on a much smaller acreage (5.4 million acres in 2011).  However, there is little overlap in which crops are grown with GE varieties versus certified organic production systems. The most widespread adoption of GE crops is in major crops such as corn, soybean, cotton, canola and sugarbeet, for which over 90 percent of acreage is planted with GE varieties.... Continue Reading
Posted On: Friday, 1/22/2016 12:15 pm
A: There is very little research into the impacts of the introduction of GMO’s on jobs. For the U.S., I am aware of just two studies that address this question directly. In a study on herbicide tolerant corn, cotton and soybeans for 2001-2003, researchers found a significant reduction in household labor associated with adoption of herbicide tolerant soybeans, but no difference for corn or cotton (Gardner, et al., 2009). Another study, using data from 1996-2001, found that adoption of... Continue Reading
Posted On: Monday, 1/18/2016 6:21 pm
A: The most recent data available from USDA on GM and non-GM soybean yields in the U.S. is from 2006, when GM herbicide tolerant soybean adopters were found to have a 3 percent yield advantage over non-adopters on average. (See 2014 USDA Economic Research Service Report, Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States.) However, it is important to keep in mind that average differences may be driven by other factors than the GM herbicide tolerance trait, such as other characteristics of the... Continue Reading


Earth Day: Reflecting On The (Major) Role Of Science In Agriculture

By Janet Carpenter (Independent Expert) on Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 15:21

Earth Day is a time to reflect on the importance of environmental protection and discuss the role science and biotechnology play in addressing environmental challenges.
  • Impact on Environment