QCan the act of some farmers planting GMOs negatively affect the ability of other farmers to practice organic farming?

Can the act of some farmers planting GMOs negatively affect the ability of other farmers to practice organic farming?

AExpert Answer

One of the great things about farming is our ability to grow many different crops, while at the same time having the choices to raise them in different fashions, with or without biotech in the crops, especially in crops like corn. This can also be challenging as we have to work with our neighbors to make sure what we are growing doesn't cause a negative effect on what they are growing. This can happen in many different instances. 


We raise production seed corn, which is the corn that will be planted by farmers next year. Having a farmer grow white corn, popcorn and sweet corn, for example, too close to those fields can have a negative impact on the quality of corn that will be planted the next year. This means we have to talk to our neighbors to see what they are growing to make sure we have the proper distance from those corn crops, like popcorn, so there isn't an issue. The same is true when dealing with neighbors who have adopted organic crop practices. They will reach out to see what is next to them to make sure there is not an issue that may cause some of their product to be rejected, as they try to maintain a pure organic standard.  


The main issue is that all of us in the farming community need to learn to communicate what we are doing so we can co-exist no matter what our cropping practices.

Posted on March 8, 2018
GMOs will not “save the world,” however they are an important tool in the toolbox for food security and agriculture. Dr. Stuart Smyth, Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics at the University of Saskatchewan, explores this topic in depth in a similar question and response here. “No single crop or food production method is capable of feeding the world on its own, so no, GMOs by themselves will not feed the world. However, as part... Read More
Posted on March 8, 2018
GMOs are made to achieve a desired trait, such as resistance to an insect or improvement to the ripening process, in order to better meet a customer’s needs. Posted below is a five minute video that offers a great visual illustration on how GMOs are made:     In this response you will also find videos demonstrating genetic modification, showing the basic process for making GM plants. We also encourage you to check out the videos: How Are GMOs Created? and GMO... Read More
Posted on November 27, 2017
Thank you for your question. Similar questions have been answered by a variety of experts on our site. Farmer Mary Mertz answered a similar question, “What are the problems with the seeds of GMOs.” She explains how this question can be answered in a variety of ways and also speaks to this topic firsthand, as she is a farmer herself. “In my opinion, the biggest problem with the seeds is the amount of misinformation that is being circulated out there.  GMOs have a... Read More