Paul Mitchell, Associate Professor Of Agricultural And Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin Madison, is part of a multi-state research group to receive the Integrated Pest Management Team Award from the Entomological Foundation.
Mitchell was part of a collaborative effort to document a $6.9 billion cumulative benefit to U.S. corn producers resulting from 14 years of area-wide suppression of the European corn borer (ECB) following the adoption of transgenic corn, specifically corn hybrids expressing one or more insecticidal proteins of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis.
Mitchell’s role in the project was to conduct the economic analysis. Most team members — from a half dozen public university, USDA, state agencies and the private sector—were insect and crop specialists.
The team found a significant and substantial decline in ECB larval and moth populations for five major corn-growing states in the central U.S. Corn Belt. Historically, ECB has been the most widespread insect pest of U.S. corn, responsible for an estimated annual loss of $1 billion.
The analysis found that in addition to the direct benefits to Bt corn producers, nearly 63 percent of the savings ($4.9 billion) actually accrued to non-Bt corn growers, who benefit from reduced ECB numbers without incurring Bt corn technology fees.