Monsanto owns very little farmland (less than 0.005% of the total U.S. acres) and most of that is used for seed production or field trials. While I can’t say offhand how many of our research or seed production fields are located next to an organic field, I would assume it is very few. Regardless, our stewardship requirements for regulated field trials and seed production include appropriate buffers based on the regulated status of the field trial or the seed quality requirements of seed production.
At the same time, the National Organic Program (NOP) obligates growers wishing to obtain and maintain organic certification to comply with certain requirements, including establishing appropriate buffer zones. Organic growers typically obtain a premium for their products which offsets the costs of complying with the requirements of the NOP.
In addition, the USDA organic standard is not a zero tolerance policy. The USDA organic standard allows for the presence of biotech material (defined as an excluded method) in organic harvests as long as the organic grower did not knowingly plant (or use) biotech seed and followed requirements of the growers Organic System Plan
“Organic producers that implement preventive measures to avoid contact with GMOs will not have their certification threatened from the inadvertent presence of the products of excluded methods (GMOs). Crops grown on certified organic operation may be sold, labeled and represented as organic, even with the inadvertent presence of GMOs, provided that all organic requirements under 7 CFR Part 205 have been followed.”
To date, we are not aware that even one organically certified farm has lost its USDA certification due to the presence of commingled biotech plant material since the beginning of the federal NOP in 2000.