As part of the Farmer Choice-Customer First, a written, developed and funded program of the American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF), the second annual survey of grain elevators has been completed showing a sizeable majority of grain elevators either requiring or suggesting the segregation of genetically modified (GMO) corn from non-GMO corn.
From nine states, 1,107 grain elevators were surveyed. Of those, 338 elevators or 30.5% are either requiring or suggesting segregation at their elevator gate and 461 elevators, or 41.6% are either requiring or suggesting farmers undertake on-farm segregation before delivery of their corn. Taken together, 72.1% of grain elevators are either requiring or suggesting segregation at the elevator or on the farm.
Responses from other questions on the survey show 244 elevators or 22% are providing premiums for non-GMO corn, with the range being from 10 to 35 cents.
"As more and more foreign and domestic customers are demanding the labeling of corn shipments, these high number of elevators either demanding or suggesting segregation are not surprising," said Gale Lush, a corn producer from Wilcox, Nebraska and the Chairman of the American Corn Growers Foundation.
Segregation is one of the major concerns to U.S. farmers surrounding the entire issue of GMO products. In a survey commissioned by the ACGF in May of this year, 76% of farmers said they would be less likely to plant GMOs in the future if the burden for segregation fell on them. With 41.6% of the elevators either requiring or suggesting that their farmer-customer segregate on the farm, this does not bode well for the proliferation of agricultural biotechnology.
"The demands of on-farm segregation will add additional costs to production agriculture, including a loss of efficiency and the expense of testing and certification. Couple this burden with the uncertainty of loss of markets, legal liability and corporate concentration, farmers will need to think long and hard before making their planting intentions for next year," added Dennis Mitchell, a member of the ACGF Board of Directors and a corn grower from Houghton, South Dakota.
"It is very possible that the United States could see a bigger drop in GMO planted corn acres next year then the 20.4% drop exhibited this past year," concluded Gary Goldberg, chief executive officer of the ACGF.
Elevators surveyed were located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio, Nebraska and South Dakota. Indiana, Kansas and Ohio were added this year.
The American Corn Growers Foundation, neutral on the issue of agricultural biotechnology, developed Farmer Choice-Customer First as an educational program geared towards providing unbiased, honest and objective information to production agriculture on the subject of genetically modified crop products.