The Environmental Benefits of Modern Agriculture

The five graphs below tell the remarkable story of how modern agriculture has dramatically benefited the environment. In large part because of the rapid adoption of advanced biotech and crop protection technologies, the United States has significantly reduced agriculture's impact on such key environmental indicators as soil loss, energy use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions, while simultaneously boosting yields.[i]

Think about this: if modern biotech and crop protection can do this much in 30 years to boost yields and improve the environment in the U.S. - which already had the most highly developed agricultural economy in the world -- imagine what these technologies could do if widely adopted in less advanced nations.

Yield Increase by Crop per Acre (1980-2011)

Soil Erosion

Irrigation Water Use (1980-2011)

Energy Use Reductions (1980-2011)

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (1980-2011)


[i] Field to Market (2012 V2). Environmental and Socioeconomic Indicators for Measuring Outcomes of On-Farm
Agricultural Production in the United States: Second Report, (Version 2), December 2012. Available at:


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