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Abstract

The purposes of this study are two-fold: (1) to estimate the size of total benefits arising from the adoption of agricultural biotechnology, and (2) to measure the distribution of total benefits among key stakeholders along the production and marketing chain, including U.S. farmers, gene developers, germplasm suppliers, U.S. consumers, and the producers and consumers in the rest of the world. This study focuses on the benefits that resulted from the adoption of herbicide-tolerant soybeans as well as insect-resistant (Bt) and herbicide-tolerant cotton in 1997. In this analysis, various data sources are examined for measuring the farm-level effects of adopting biotechnology and the resulting benefit estimates are compared. The size and distribution of the benefits arising from the adoption of biotech crops vary significantly, depending on the farm-level effects obtained from the various data sources and the supply and demand elasticity assumptions for the domestic and world markets. Estimates of the benefits derived from farm-level impacts that isolate the effects biotechnology appear to be the most plauible. This study does not lend support to the popular belief that U.S. farmers received at least one-half, or as much as two-thirds, of the total benefits realized from the adoption of biotechnology. In contrast, the results of this study indicate that in 1997, U.S. farmers realized considerably less than half of the total benefits. The bulk of the benefits appear to have gone to the gene supplier, seed companies, U.S. consumers, and the rest of the world.

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