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Janet Carpenter

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

Expert Bio

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.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: What is a consumer to believe about increased yields from GMO crops when the industry claims they have increased yields and other sources claim they haven't? Is there any evidence that is totally outside of industry control that backs up the industry's c

Answered By Janet Carpenter - Sep 12, 2013

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.  For example, conventional insecticides may become ineffective as a result of their overuse and [...]

GMOs & Farmers Crop protectants


Q: If consumer opposition to GMO products is so strong, why not stick to making Non-GMO seeds better through breeding? A June 2013 study published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability entitled "Sustainability and innovation in staple c

Answered By Janet Carpenter - Dec 05, 2013

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 substituted for other pest-management practices and have been adopted for reasons other than yield i [...]

Environment GMOs & Farmers Crop protectants


Q: Regarding sustainability, I was hoping you could address the findings in the research study conducted by Canterbury University Professor Jack Heinemann, based on an analysis of data on agricultural productivity in north America and Western Europe over the

Answered By Janet Carpenter - Jan 17, 2014

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 as climate, soils, farming practices, government subsidies and subspecies of the crop grown (which is [...]

GMOs & Farmers GMOs Globally Health & Safety


Q: Since all stages of GMO conventional agriculture heavily rely on petroleum, how will this affect the price of food and environmental pollution in the long term? If we were to fully embrace GMO conventional wouldn't we be depending dangerously on a raw m

Answered By Janet Carpenter - Jan 30, 2014

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 growing weeds without harming the crop. Since the introduction of GM crops, many studies have shown that th [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety Crop protectants