llinois farmers have told the USDA that they will dramatically increase the planting of biotech soybeans this year. They plan to sow 59 percent of their soy acres with genetically improved varieties, compared to 44 percent last year.

Meanwhile, anti-technology activists told a Massachusetts joint legislative committee on Monday that the state should impose a 5-year moratorium on the planting of all genetically improved crops. Several organic farmers also testified, complaining that their competitors’ biotech crops pose a serious threat to their livelihood. The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group is demanding that the government hold makers of biotech seeds legally liable for damages to organic farming.

A Massachusetts Biotechnology Council spokesman objected in a Boston Herald article, saying, “To tell farmers and growers that they couldn’t plant this seed would be like telling then they had to turn in their tractors for horse-drawn plows – it just doesn’t make sense.”