Ask Us Anything About GMOs!

Q:
I am unconvinced that GMO crops can be contained when it comes to cross-pollination of surrounding crops. Given the number of lawsuits that have been won by the big corporations for GMO seed traits in non-GMO seed, isn't GMO pollen being spread by the wind much like peeing in a swimming pool...you can't control where it goes? I don't understand why contaminating organic farms and individually developed varieties of seed with GMO traits should be protected for Monsanto and Dupont, but not the organic farmer.
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A:Expert Answer

Seed companies, university researchers and others have been studying corn pollen for years. In fact, understanding pollen movement is critical at Pioneer to develop new corn hybrids, maintain the purity of parent seed and research plots, and produce seed crops each year. We know that similar maturities of corn, planted during a similar timeframe, in fields that are located close to one-another would have the potential for a low level of cross-pollination. But we also know that with best management practices, a high degree of purity can be achieved. Examples of these best management practices can be seen in university publications that provide information to farmers, including those from Ohio State University and University of California-Davis.

 

Additionally, DuPont Pioneer has never sued a farmer because of the inadvertent presence of patented biotech traits in the farmer’s field, and we’re not aware any other company has either. The same is true for certification under the National Organic Program. 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.  

 

We respect a farmer’s right to choose the best seed for them. In fact, our company is a supplier of non-biotech seed. Our agronomy and sales teams work with farmer customers to match the right seed – whether that’s biotech or not – and the best management practices to their specific growing conditions. And what we see in the field is that farmers are successfully growing all types of crops (conventional, organic, biotech, specialty), sometimes even on the same farm, through good communication, cooperation, flexibility and mutual respect for each other’s practices and requirements.

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