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What steps are being taken to prevent GMO crops pollinating organic/wild plants?

Submitted by: Community Manager


Expert response from Community Manager

Moderator for

Monday, 15/04/2019 18:14

The proper management of organic, conventional and GM seeds is an important issue. The coexistence of multiple production methods – organic, conventional and GM – is not a new concept. Farmers have been producing different types of crops next to one another well before and since GM seeds were first introduced in 1996, and they work hard every day managing their farms to ensure each crop meets the appropriate marketing requirements.

Don Cameron, a farmer outside of Fresno, CA, grows conventional and GM seeds on the same farm. Don explains in a previous response that,

“As an organic grower, I communicate with my neighbors and use different planting dates or separation to avoid pollination from any surrounding crops, whether from my own biotech crops or those of my neighbors. We choose to grow different crops with different cropping systems—organic, conventional and biotech―all on the same farm and without issues of pollen flow from one to the other.”

Mary Mertz also farms with a combination of seed types—conventional and GM—and happens to do so next door to an organic farm. Mary states in a previous response,

“Organic and conventional farmers are all in the food production business together. We need to work together and respect each other’s farming practices. This entails communication, heightened awareness of weather conditions and being solution-oriented to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.”

Additionally, a report from the American Seed Trade Association explains that, "Building upon many generations of experience, coexistence involves agricultural best practices that bring the greatest benefit to all along the agricultural value chain from seed developers to farmers and from retailers to consumers — from field to fork."  The report reminds us that, "The coexistence of various production methods is not a new concept to the agricultural community," and that, "Farmers are accustomed to producing different crops next to one another." Read the full report for more information on the set of tools used to facilitate coexistence in the seed industry.

For additional information on this topic, we recommend the following responses:

We hope this answers your question, if you have any other questions about GMOs or biotechnology, please ask here!