New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows Genetically engineered crops dominate the U.S. agriculture sector. Genetically engineered seeds were commercially introduced in the United States for major field crops in 1996, with adoption rates increasing rapidly in the following years.
The two main GE trait types are herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant. USDA reports information on GE crops in the data product Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States. The data shows that by 2008, more than 50 percent of corn, cotton, and soybean acres were planted with at least one GE seed trait. Today, more than 90 percent of those acres are planted using at least one GE trait. Other traits have been developed, including resistance to viruses, fungi, and drought or enhanced protein, oil, or vitamin content.
While herbicide-tolerant seeds are also widely used in alfalfa, canola, and sugar beet production, most GE acres are occupied by three major field crops: corn, cotton, and soybeans.