UPI Farming Today

By GREGORY TEJEDA, United Press International  |  Jan. 16, 2003 at 1:15 AM
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6 million farmers grow altered crops

Nearly 6 million farmers around the world used 15 million more acres of land to plant genetically modified crops last year -- a 12 percent increase from 2001.

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications reported Wednesday that farmers are adopting use of genetic crops at a higher rate.

Officials said the farmers used 145 million acres for genetic crops for genetic crops, with more than 20 percent of the global crop area of soybeans, corn, cotton and canola acres now being genetically modified varieties.

The 6 million farmers are located in 16 countries, up from 5 million farmers in 13 countries in 2001.

About 75 percent of the farmers were resource-poor and from developing countries.

"This high adoption rate is a strong vote of confidence in biotech crops, reflecting farmers' need for and satisfaction with the technology," said Clive James, the service's chairman.

"In many cases, growers are finding biotechnology offers the only viable solution to protect crops from economically devastating pests."

While genetic cotton maintained its global reach of 16.8 million acres, biotech corn acreage grew 27 percent to 30.6 million acres.

Genetic canola acreage increased 11 percent to 7.4 million acres, while genetic soybean production grew 10 percent to 90.2 million acres, exceeding more than 50 percent of the global soybean crop area for the first time.

In the United States, genetic crop acreage grew by about 8.2 million acres, mainly due to significant increases in biotech corn and soybean acres.

Argentina, Canada, China and the United States were the leading growers of genetically modified crops -- with more than half of China's cotton crop being genetic for the first time.

The study said more than 25 percent of global genetic crop acreage was grown in developing countries in 2002.

India, Colombia and Honduras grew genetic crops for the first time, while the Philippines last month approved a variety of genetically altered corn, making this one of the first biotech feed crops approved planted in Asia.

Parker named Ag civil rights official

A former White House special assistant was nominated to the newly created post of assistant secretary for civil rights at the Agriculture Department.

Officials said Vernon Parker, who was a White House assistant under former President George H.W. Bush, was nominated by the current president to ensure that Agriculture Department policies and programs are in compliance with civil rights policies.

Parker, a graduate of Georgetown University Law School, also worked as general counsel for the Office of Personnel Management. He has been in the private sector since 1993, including a post as president of BelSante International LLC, a nutritional supplement company.

The appointment needs Senate confirmation.

Brazil, China reach soybean deal

Brazil and China have reached a deal by which the latter will accept soybeans from Brazil.

Under the agreement, Brazil soybean exports intended for China through Sept. 20 will be accompanied by provisional certificates indicating genetically altered soybeans that are part of the shipment pose no health risk to people.

While Brazil itself does not allow genetically modified crops to be planted, it does allow crops from other countries to pass through, including Argentina, where such crops are permitted.

Produce businesses face fines

The Agriculture Department cited seven produce businesses for failing to pay reparation awards required under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

The businesses, based in California, Delaware and Florida, will be barred from operating in the produce industry. All were served complaints by federal agriculture officials.

Fines for the businesses range from $54,750 against Southwood Farms of Hockessin, Del.; to $8,437 against J.R. Produce Corp. of Pompano Beach, Fla.

Grains mostly higher on CBOT

Grain futures were mostly higher at the close Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybeans and corn both benefited from increased buying interest and anticipation export sales figures will be higher than expected.

Wheat declined on a lack of export demand and weather conditions in some hard red winter wheat growing areas.

Oats were higher.

The prices:

Soybeans: Mar 5.49 3/4 off 1/4, May 5.44 1/2 unch, Jul 5.43 1/4 up 2 1/4, Aug 5.37 1/2 up 3 1/2.

Corn: Mar 2.31 1/4 unch, May 2.34 up 1/4, Jul 2.37 unch, Sep 2.38 up 1/4.

Wheat: Mar 3.12 3/4 off 1 1/2, May 3.10 1/2 unch, Jul 3.05 3/4 off 1 1/4, Sep 3.09 off 2.

Oats: Mar 2.13 up 3/4, May 2.04 1/4 up 1, Jul 1.87 1/2 up 1 1/2, Sep 1.68 up 2 1/4.

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