Jennifer L. Price
Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Jeffrey Hyde and Dennis D. Calvin
Penn State University.

Because of Bt corn’s efficacy in controlling European corn borer, farmers are required to implement an insect resistance management (IRM) program that constrains each farmer to plant no more than 80% of the farm’s corn to Bt varieties. This “refuge” must be planted within a half-mile of Bt corn and must be contained on the same farm. “Community refuge” schemes, those which allow the refuge area to be planted on a neighboring farm, have been proposed. In this analysis, we estimate the potential gains to all farms in the community in two representative locations: Pennsylvania and Iowa. The results of a decision analysis model show that the potential gains are very small; the greatest is only $652 over a 2000-acre community ($0.33 per acre). This gain would almost certainly be offset by the costs of developing such a community.

Key words: Bt corn, community refuge, decision analysis, insect resistance management.