Genetically engineered (GE) seeds were commercially introduced in the United States for major field crops in 1996, with adoption rates increasing rapidly in the years that followed.
Currently, more than 90% of U.S. corn, upland cotton and soybeans are produced using GE varieties. Most of these GE seeds are herbicide tolerant (HT), insect resistant (Bt) or both (stacked). The share of U.S. soybean acres planted with HT seeds rose from 7% in 1996 to 68% in 2001, before plateauing at 94% in 2014. Bt soybeans are not yet commercially available. HT cotton acreage expanded from approximately 10% in 1997 to a high of 95% in 2019. Adoption rates for HT corn grew relatively slowly at first, but then plateaued at 89% in 2014.
Meanwhile, the share of Bt corn acreage grew from approximately 8% in 1997 to 82% in 2020. Increases in adoption rates for Bt corn may be due to the commercial introduction of new varieties resistant to the corn rootworm and the corn earworm. Bt cotton acreage also expanded, from 15% of U.S. cotton acreage in 1997 to 88% in 2020. This chart appears in the Economic Research Service data product, Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S., updated July 2020.