Measuring specialty crop grower willingness to pay for genetic modification and genetic editing


In contrast to the widespread adoption of agricultural commodities modified using biotechnology, the adoption rate of bioengineered specialty crops by growers remains low. The use of bioengineered crops has been controversial since their introduction in the 1990s due to concerns about their potentially harmful effects to human health, the environment, and other socioeconomic issues. To identify grower preferences, perceived opportunities, and barriers to growing bioengineered crops, we surveyed Minnesota specialty crop growers using a web-based survey. The survey measured whether adoption rates are influenced by the specific trait of the modification, the method of bioengineering (genetically modified [GM] vs. genetically edited [GE]), or the end use of the crop being grown (ornamental vs food). Overall willingness-to-pay for both GM and GE potatoes was significantly lower than for conventional potatoes, and nearly a quarter (25%) of our respondents never chose a bioengineered option no matter the benefits. Results were similar for petunias, but fewer respondents (18%) refused to consider the bioengineering option. The type of bioengineering did not have as significant an impact on adoption rate as price or end use. The bioengineered ornamental crop had a higher willingness to adopt than the bioengineered food crop.