Crop Biotech Update

Study Documents 13 Years of Adoption and Learning by US Soybean Farmers

August 4, 2021

By analyzing how the evolution of learning affects technology adoption of genetically modified (GM) soybean seeds by farmers in the United States, scientists were able to conclude that uncertainty is considerably reduced over time thanks to increased learning efficiency.

The scientists examined farmers' adoption decisions in three stages: the early majority (1996-2001), the late majority (2001-2006), and the laggard stages (2006-2009). By using the "forward-looking" model, they were able to document that farmers were more likely to be forward-looking in the first 12 years of experimentation with the GM soybean technology. They also found that farmers learn both from their experiences and their neighbor's as well during these stages. However, learning was found to be complete during the laggard stage reducing uncertainty to a minimum from both sources. Therefore, learning efficiency for own- and neighbor's experience improves each year and decreases uncertainty about profitability of the GM soybean seeds over time.

The results of the study exhibited that farmers' learning evolves over time. These can guide policy makers or marketing firms in promoting new agricultural technologies, such as providing training and extension support when introducing new technology to farmers during the early stages of the technology, then focusing on subsidizing farmer adoption when the technology is in the market and adopted by a certain percentage of potential users.

To find out more, read the full paper in bioRxiv.

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