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One reason that I find myself initially adverse to GMOs is that biotech companies are gaining monopoly control over agriculture, and turning a basic human need for nourishment into an opportunity for business, finance, and, ultimately, inequalities on both the consumer and producer sides of the spectrum. How exactly do GMO crops ensure equitable business relationships between all stakeholders, and should food really be controlled like this?

Submitted by: Marley Bauce


Expert response from Bart Schott

Farmer and Past President, Corn Board of the National Corn Growers Association

Thursday, 01/08/2013 14:01

This is a great question―and I understand your concern.  I might not be able to respond on behalf of all of the stakeholders referenced in your question, but what I can offer is my perspective as a farmer.


What I know and see every day is that farmers are free to choose what seeds they use to grow their crops based on what is best for their farms, market demand and local growing environment. In fact, many farmers welcome the opportunity to use―or not to use―the new traits that are offered to us by the seed industry. This is based on need and economics. 


Non-GM seeds are readily available from seed dealers that serve the farming community. Companies continue to develop non-GM crop varieties that are made available to farmers who wish to use them.


A farmer may choose not to plant GM seeds if certain destructive insects are not a problem in his or her farm or region, for example, or if the farmer may be engaged in organic production, which doesn’t allow the use of GM seeds. Just as with any business, farmers make decisions every day that fit their business models and make sense economically.  Seed companies respect those decisions and develop a wide variety of seeds that farmers want to buy. Based on the effectiveness of GM technology, 17 million farmers around the world have freely chosen to plant GM crops.


Next time you have a chance, ask a farmer how he or she decides which seeds to purchase.  You may be surprised at what you learn.


USDA Economic Research Service: "Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.," 2000-12.