Many Farmers Not Complying with Bt Rule

Several seed companies reported a threefold increase last year in U.S. farmers caught violating rules intended to stop insects from developing resistance to genetically modified corn. The rules affect farmers planting seeds modified to produce a toxin derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a natural insecticide. The Environmental Protection Agency requires those growers to also plant an adjacent area of non-Bt corn so that bugs feed on both types of corn and don’t become immune to the toxin.

Monsanto reports that about 41 percent of 3,053 farmers inspected in 2011 failed to fully comply with the refuge requirement. Seed companies are concerned that bugs’ resistance to modified crops may be increasing. Joanne Carden of Monsanto says – farmers who violate the requirements are now revisited at least twice over five years. Those who fail the follow-up inspection will lose access to the technology.

In July, Iowa State University found that some rootworms have evolved resistance to the Bt gene engineered into Monsanto corn. Entomologists in Illinois and other Midwestern states are studying possible resistance in fields where the insects devour roots of Monsanto’s Bt corn.


SFNToday.com is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. SFNToday.com presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*