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We’re not aware that organic certification has ever been revoked due to the inadvertent presence of GM material in an organic crop.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 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
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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