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Biotech Boosts Small Farms

Family farms benefit from genetic improvement technologies, Reuters reports. Iowa corn grower Bill Horan of the National Corn Growers Association says that biotech is “a potential lifeline for smaller farmers” since “new ‘niche’ crops designed for specific uses in medicine or industry” will soon emerge.

Horan notes that corn hybrids in development could “slash the manufacturing costs of a drug for cystic fibrosis to one-fourteenth of current costs” — helping stave off the illness while giving small farmers a new line of business. “We think that agribusiness and biotech companies are going to be commercializing new products in the next two to three years that will enable us to gain a higher margin than we’ve got with commodity products,” he says.

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