SEEDS AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Among the many benefits of seed innovation are agricultural sustainability and ecosystem preservation. In fact, crop varietal enhancement and genetic improvement (biotechnology) are very "green" technologies.

Biotechnology is playing a huge role in transforming agriculture in the 21sts century, making farming more environmentally friendly and more sustainable. In 2008, over 300 million acres worldwide (180 million in the U.S.) were planted with biotech crops, ranging from cotton, canola, and carnation to soybean, squash, and sweet pepper. Biotech seeds, which have been in commercial use since the mid-1990s, result in safe, higher-yielding crops that are resistant to many pests and diseases and have more healthful qualities (such as specialty soybeans and canola that reduce trans fats in the diet).

Biotech crops have reduced the environmental footprint of agriculture by:

  • Decreasing the use of pesticides
  • Decreasing CO2 emissions
  • Reducing dependence on fossil fuels
  • Improving quality of crop soil
  • Increasing efficiency of water usage

Going forward, continued innovation is expected to lead to even more environmental benefits, such as developing crops that are resistant to drought, improving water quality, maintaining the quality of arable land, preserving the world's forests and other natural habitats, cost-effectively optimizing the yield of bio-fuel, and creating biodegradable products from renewable resources.