Chip Bowling, NCGA chairman and USFRA vice chairman.
Chip Bowling, NCGA chairman and USFRA vice chairman.

Maryland farmer Chip Bowling agrees with a new survey that finds the main reason farmers have increased their use of genetically modified (GM) crops is sustainability.

“We’re better at what we do because of technology, whether it’s seeds and traits or through the equipment that we use,” says Bowling, who farms on the Chesapeake Bay. He is also chairman of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and vice chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) which recently released a survey of farmers on their attitudes towards GM technology.

The survey found that farmers like Bowling believe biotechnology helps them raise crops more efficiently, and that the environment and sustainability practices will suffer if GMO technology utilization is reduced in crop production in the future. Moreover, when asked about farmers’ ability to lessen their environmental footprint, GMO seeds ranked top of the list (98%).

“With GMOs and advances in agricultural technology, we’re utilizing our resources much more precisely today and have pinpoint accuracy when applying fertilizer, nitrogen and chemical applications. This is especially important on my farm in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Bowling. “The farmers’ perspective in the survey findings are a direct indication of how important genetic engineering technology is for the environment and our food supply, and how it benefits farmers and consumers alike.”

Bowling says they are hoping to help consumers understand the beneficial link between GMO technology and sustainability. “Only 11 percent of consumers see GMOs as being favorable,” he said. “But if you talk to them about increased yields and efficiency, then 50 percent believe GMOs are on the right path.”