In discussions about potential restrictions on advances in seed technology, a primary concern has been that impeding technological development would limit the ability of farmers to maximize their productivity. Farmers well know that increases in production will not come from more acres, but rather from the more efficient use of the land and inputs they already have. That reality underpins why biotechnology is so important to farmers. They are vocal advocates for genetically modified crops, which require less water and fewer chemical applications than conventional crops. In addition, GM crops are better able to survive drought, weeds and insects. Farmers have fought hard to protect their ability to utilize this technology both in the U.S. and around the world. The approval of new traits, however, has slowed in certain key markets, like China. These trade barriers clearly have an impact on agricultural operations, but the ability to quantify that impact has been limited. CropLife International recently released the results of a commissioned study that estimates the impact delayed import approvals in China have had on farm income, job creation, wage growth, economic output and potential business sales.
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