Global GMO plantings rose in 2016

The amount of GMO crops grown worldwide in 2016 was up from the year before. Increased GMO plantings in Brazil and the United States accounted for most of the rise.

USDA clears way for two GE potatoes

USDA's biotechnology regulators say that two genetically engineered potato varieties from J.R. Simplot, developer of the first GE potato to resist bruising, can be grown safely and do not need federal regulation.

EU approves import of keenly watched U.S. GE soy variety

In a decision that removed a roadblock to adoption of a new genetically engineered soybean variety, the European Commission approved import of the Monsanto soybean that is resistant to two types of weedkillers, said Reuters. The soybean went on sale in the United States and Canada this year surrounded by questions about whether there was a market for it.

Bayer-Monsanto merger, in doubt for now, has farm and food implications

Monsanto says Bayer isn't offering enough to justify a merger but that it's open to continued talks with the German company. An official at Johns Hopkins' Center for a Livable Future says a merger would "be a real shock to the food system" because of the potential of higher prices to farmers for seeds and agricultural chemicals in a sector undergoing consolidation, reported Marketwatch.

Canada OKs GE salmon, no label required

The genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon is cleared for sale as food in Canada, the first food animal approved for the commercial market, said Canadian health officials. The salmon, which also was the first GE animal approved by U.S. regulators, will not be required to carry a label in stores to say it was genetically modified, said the CBC.

U.S. should broaden its safety review of new plant strains, says NAS panel

The National Academy of Sciences, pointing to the emergence of new technology such as gene editing and the sometimes startling effects of conventional plant breeding, said the government should conduct safety reviews of all new plant varieties that pose potential hazards, not only the results of genetic engineering.

Two big processors say they won’t buy new GE soybeans

Bunge and Archer Daniels Midland, two of the largest grain processors in the country, say they will not accept delivery of a new genetically engineered soybean strain from Monsanto because of marketing questions, reported Bloomberg. The European Union has not approved the strain, called Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, for import.

Farmers lean heavily on glyphosate; U.S. averages 13 ounces an acre

U.S. farmers use glyphosate more widely and more intensively than any other weedkiller, says researcher Charles Benbrook in a paper published today in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe. Benbrook says growers applied nearly 250 million pounds (125.4 million kg) of the chemical in 2014.

Bulk of lawsuit over Syngenta GE corn heads for trial

A federal judge has decided that the bulk of lawsuits by thousands of farmers against Syngenta over a genetically engineered corn variety will proceed to trial, reports DTN.

In agricultural espionage, even the corn has ears

The Justice Department's use of a secretive national-security court to prevent the theft of hybrid corn seed developed by U.S. companies indicates the gravity of Sino-U.S. competition, says the The New Republic.