Nearly every single acre of corn and soybean grown last year was planted with genetically engineered seeds.

That statistic represents a dramatic shift from just a few decades ago when less than 10 percent of those acres were planted with GMOs.

Agribusiness officials say this spike in GMO planting is related to climate change, the global phenomenon largely caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gasses that most scientists say will affect everything from sea levels to food production.

But some critics do not believe that argument.

Using U.S. Department of Agriculture data, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting looks at genetically engineered crops in its package: “GMOs, Monsanto and the fight against climate change.”

USDA regulates the introduction of new genetically engineered crop varieties. Before a genetically engineered crop can be grown commercially, it must be approved or deregulated through a formal USDA petition process.

It has kept track of those petitions since the early 1990s.

Among the investigation’s findings:

  • Monsanto has been responsible for introducing 37 different genetically engineered seeds approved by the USDA.
  • In the last five years alone, the USDA has approved at least 30 genetically engineered crop varieties, and it currently has six more pending deregulation.
  • Since 1992, data shows the USDA has approved at least 110 varieties of genetically engineered crops, including little known varieties for potatoes, tomatoes, papaya and rapeseed.

Findings will also be available via an interactive graphic and searchable database.


Video: highlights from “GMOs, Monsanto and the fight against climate change”


Coming soon on July 10, 2015:

GMOs, Monsanto and the fight against climate change
Monsanto’s Climate Corporation using big data to inform farmers
The complicated relationship between agriculture and climate change
Data tool: Explore USDA data on GMO petitions

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