QHow does GMO manufacturers deal with DRIFTING? Drifting occurs when patented GMO seeds blow in an organic farmer's crop and contaminate it. Since GMOs are patented how does that help farmers if they face litigation from a natural occurrence of drifting? H

How does GMO manufacturers deal with DRIFTING? Drifting occurs when patented GMO seeds blow in an organic farmer's crop and contaminate it. Since GMOs are patented how does that help farmers if they face litigation from a natural occurrence of drifting? How do the corporations that engineer GMOs and grow them into our environment stop a monopoly from happening if all non-GMOs become contaminated resulting in those crops being owned by the corporations while the organic farmer's organic certification becomes revoked?

AExpert Answer

The issue of pollen flow has been important to seed companies and scientists for years. Because corn is an open pollinating plant, it is important to our business to understand how far pollen travels and under what conditions. Managing that pollen flow is important to developing new hybrids and producing a high quality seed crop – regardless of whether that seed is GM or not.

We’re not aware that organic certification has ever been revoked due to the inadvertent presence of GM material in an organic crop.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. And, 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 the perspective of an organic farmer on this issue, read this response from Don Cameron to a similar question.

One of the things that makes U.S. agriculture great is that all types of farms and farming practices can coexist. We provide seeds to farmers who choose a variety of production methods for their farms – organic, conventional, biotech and many combinations of those. Our goal is to help each farmer succeed with the production method they choose, including providing them with the highest quality seed possible and advice to help ensure a successful growing season and harvest.

Posted on April 18, 2018
GMO Answers provides the facts that answer questions related to biotechnology, GM crops and agriculture. We work to ensure that the content and answers provided by experts and companies are accurate and therefore do not present opinions about GMOs, simply facts. GMO Answers is a community focused on constructive discussion about GMOs in order to have open conversations about agriculture and GMOs. This website is funded by the Council for Biotechnology Information. The Council... Read More
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First, the question is wrongly framed; it’s not true that there’s less “usage” of GMOs in developing countries. In a 2016 report, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) reported that “of the top five countries growing 91 percent of biotech crops, three are developing countries (Brazil, Argentina, and India).” The other two were the U.S. and Canada. Although the U.S. led biotech crop planting in 2016... Read More
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