Ask Us Anything About GMOs!

Q:
Given that one cannot grow an organic corn crop near GMO corn due to cross pollination, how are Indiana farmers supposed to legally produce an organic corn crop? Are your companies (DOW, Monsanto, ADM) open to reserving areas of the state as GMO free to allow for the production of open pollinated Non-GMO corn? If farmers attempt to grow Non-GMO corn and save seed do you foresee continual litigation against these growers for the inadvertent cross pollination?
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A:Expert Answer

It is possible for organic corn production and GM corn production to coexist in the same area. In fact, there are many farmers who raise both organic and GM corn crops. It is one of the great things about U.S. agriculture―there are markets and opportunities for all types of production practices, and farmers have a history of working together to manage crops appropriately.

 

There are a number of well-researched and documented good management practices that help limit pollen flow between fields, including planting at recommended separation distances and timing the planting so that pollination of the two fields occurs at different times (corn pollination happens only for about a week). For more details on cross-pollination, check out this response: Will cross-pollination effect other non-GMO crops? And if there are two fields next to each other, one GMO and one non-GMO; what is the likelihood of them cross-pollinating?

 

We’re not aware that organic certification has ever been revoked due to the inadvertent presence of GM material in an organic crop. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as long as an organic grower has not intentionally planted GM seed and has taken reasonable steps to avoid contact with GM pollen or seed, the detection of a low level of GM material in a crop does not constitute a violation of National Organic Program standards. DuPont Pioneer has never sued a farmer because of the inadvertent presence of patented biotech traits in a farmer’s field, and we’re not aware any other company has either.

 

For another perspective, read this response to a similar question from a farmer who grows both organic and conventional crops.

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