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Jillian Etress

Agriculture Teacher and Blogger

Expert Bio

Jillian Etress is a high school agriculture teacher and farmer's wife from South Alabama. She is a graduate of Auburn University's College of Agriculture where she earned her degree in Agriculture Communications. In her spare time, she works with an Alabama-based mission group that serves in Haiti to provide education opportunities as well as agricultural education to the local Haitian community.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: Are all the seeds you alter genetically patented by you and require man-made chemicals and licences to grow? If so, how sustainable is our future if a corporation OWNS the seeds of life inherited to us on this planet? If GMOs are natural then how is that

Answered By Jillian Etress - Mar 15, 2014

A: Great question. First of all, from a farm perspective not all of our seeds are genetically modified. We choose to use or not use GMOs based on the needs of our farm. When we do buy GM seeds, we are required to sign a technology contract where we agree not to save seed from year to year. This protects the research that whatever seed company we purchase from that year has put into the seeds. That being said, the seed is still viable. Technically, it could be replanted and grown the next year; however, we choose to abide by the legal restraints of our contract and do not save GMO seed.  [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety Modern Agriculture


Q: Why do farmers have to sign a non-disclosure statement?

Answered By Jillian Etress - May 01, 2014

A: Farmers do not sign non-disclosure agreements. Non-disclosure agreements are contracts between two parties who agree not to disclose essential, confidential information related to their businesses. However, farmers do have to sign technology contracts wherein they agree to a list of terms when using patented seed technology. For example, when we plant enhanced cottonseed, we sign a technology contract in which we agree not to save the seed from the crop to replant it next year. This protects the research-and-development investments of the seed company. After the patents have expired, companies [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety Modern Agriculture


Q: i am doing a speech on gmos is there any thing that mite help me understand more about it

Answered By Jillian Etress - Jun 19, 2015

A: As an FFA advisor, I always advise my students to become experts on the process before delving into speech writing. This prepares them for the many questions they might face from judges, a debate panel or whomever they addressing in their audience. GMOs and biotechnology in general can seem overwhelming but with a little digging, it is easy to understand! First of all, biotechnology is really the speeding up of the process of selection. Agriculturalists have used selective breeding for many years in choosing the best sires and dams to pass traits on to their offspring. Biotechnology speeds up [...]

GMOs & Farmers How GMOs Are Made


Q: do you ever feel bad about sporting such a dangerus and evil small farm destroying farming practice

Answered By Jillian Etress - Dec 11, 2015

A: As an owner of a small farm, I'm not sure what dangerous and evil farm destroying practices you are implying but I assume you mean the use of GM crops. We farm about 400 acres of fresh produce, peanuts, corn and cotton and are considered a small farm by comparison in our state. We use GM products when growing corn and cotton. These products allow us to save money when purchasing herbicides and reduce the amount of chemicals we have to spray on the crops because of the technology in the plant. The added benefits of drought resistance and increased water efficiency available in some GM crop [...]

How GMOs Are Made Modern Agriculture Crop protectants