Business Practices

By • October 11, 2017

The following is an excerpt of a report found on the Rothamsted Research website about GMOS and food security. 

Genetic modification of plants will be essential to avert future food shortages, conclude a group of agricultural scientists who have reviewed how biotechnology developments over the past 35 years have shaped the efficiency of crop production.

GM crops able to repel insect pests or to resist herbicides have transformed the farming of soybean, cotton, maize and canola, reducing costs and increasing productivity, but lack of knowledge hinders further improvements in yield, particularly in testing climatic conditions, they say.

Scientists have identified some genes that affect crop yields, such as those influencing grain size and leaf growth, but have still to fully understand the cellular and developmental processes, and how these processes behave in a field environment, they note.

The team, from Rothamsted Research in the UK and from Syngenta Crop Science and Symmetry Bioanalytics in the US, present their review as an online opinion article in Trends in Plant Science.

Click here to read the entire article and here to read the study

QWhat percentage of sweet corn acreage in the United States is planed in Bt corn? This was asked in 2015, but has the percentage changed?

What percentage of sweet corn acreage in the United States is planed in Bt corn? This was asked in 2015, but has the percentage changed?

QWhy do you guys lie about GMOs being safe?

Why do you guys lie about GMOs being safe?

AExpert Answer

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan. 


GMO Answers provides the facts that answer questions related to biotechnology, GM crops and agriculture. We work to ensure that the content and answers provided by experts and companies is accurate and therefore do not present opinions about GMOs, simply facts. GMO Answers is a community focused on constructive discussion about GMOs in order to have open conversations about agriculture and GMOs.


This website is funded by the Council for Biotechnology Information. The Council for Biotechnology Information is comprised of six different companies, who are committed to the responsible development and application of plant biotechnology. These companies include: BASF, Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto Company and Syngenta.


GMOs are safe. That is the overwhelming consensus of scientific experts and major scientific authorities around the world, including the World Health Organization, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and American Medical Association.


In the spring of 2016, The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) issued a comprehensive report where a panel of more than 20 scientists, researchers, agricultural and industry experts reviewed more than 20 years of data since GMOs were introduced, including nearly 900 studies and tests and European and North American health data. They concluded – as other previous research concluded – that genetically modified crops are safe to eat, have the same nutrition and composition as non-genetically modified crops and have no links to new allergies, cancer, celiac or other diseases. Extensive and continued studies on GMOs are being conducted to ensure their ongoing safety. In addition to the NAS analysis, there are thousands of studies available confirming the safety of GMOs, as well as hundreds of independent studies.


We invite you to check out this response which provides more information about GMO safety.


We hope the information provided answers your question. If you have any further questions, please ask. Also, feel free to contribute to the discussion in the comment section below!

By • September 15, 2017

The following is an except of an article in Reuters about a decision by a European court to allow an Italian farmer to grow genetically modified corn. 

Europe’s top court ruled on Wednesday that Italy had been wrong to ban cultivation of an EU-approved genetically modified (GMO) maize as it had failed to show there was a serious risk to public health or the environment.

The European Union approved use of the GMO maize, Monsanto’s MON 810 in 1998, but the Italian government asked the European Commission in 2013 to ban it after two Italian scientific studies questioned its safety.

The Commission concluded there was no reason to do so since the European Safety Authority had concluded it was safe.

Italy nevertheless decided to ban cultivation of MON 810 and in 2014 prosecuted a number of farmers who continued to grow it.

The European Court of Justice ruled that unless there is significant evidence that GMOs are a serious risk to human or animal health or the environment, then member states cannot adopt emergency measures to prohibit their use.

To read the rest of the article, please read the article on the Reuters website

QWho can create a gmo for me? I'm wanting certain matching genes to be added to a strain of watermelon and a strain of coconut. Who can do this for me?

Who can create a gmo for me? I'm wanting certain matching genes to be added to a strain of watermelon and a strain of coconut. Who can do this for me?

AExpert Answer

While there might be some institutions with the capability to make these transgenic watermelon and coconut plants for you, that does not mean that you would be able to actually plant them out. First, the institution would need to have a Biological Use Authorization to work with recombinant DNA to make the vectors to transfer the genes. Then they would need to be able to do the tissue culture required to transfer the genes and regenerate whole plants again, which can sometimes be difficult. Then a number of these plants (between 20 and 100) might need to be grown to identify ones that have successfully incorporated the genes and express the desired trait. This would have to done in a greenhouse with proper containment to prevent the plants (or any of their parts, e.g., pollen) from the outdoor environment. Generally, you would grow them there for a generation or two to be sure that the trait is stable, but this would clearly be a problem for coconut. If you then wanted to grow them outside, you would need additional permits from the USDA, an isolated field, and the ability to monitor the field for two more years afterwards to be sure that there are no volunteer plants (at least this would be easy for coconut). Then, if you wanted to sell or distribute these plants, you would need to submit an application to the USDA-APHIS for review to allow them to decide whether there is any risk of the plants becoming plant pests due to the gene you added and to the FDA to be sure that they would be safe to eat. This review can take anywhere from a few years up to a decade or more, based on recent cases, and could cost a minimum of $1-10 million up to much more to generate the required data, depending on what the genes are and whether you also want to send the plants to or sell them in other countries.


In short, while the technology to do what you ask is actually pretty easy to accomplish these days inside a research setting, the regulatory requirements that must be met in order to create, characterize, deregulate and finally release such plants to the environment make it virtually impossible to do without very deep pockets and a lot of time. 

By • August 17, 2017

The following is an excerpt of an article and video on the WTAJ-TV website discussing how GMO seeds have helped local farmers. 

AG Progress Days is an opportunity for vendors and producers to all come together and show the advancements in agriculture but what I've learned today is that it's equally important to get the community involved.

TA Seeds is based in Jersey Shore, Pa., and it's participated with AG Progress Days for about 35 years. For over three decades  its seen the growth and advancements for genetic modification. But Taylor Doebler, owner of TA Seeds, said the label has come with a downfall.

"Misinformation out there is hurting everybody when it comes to what GMOs are about," Doebler said. You have the traditional or conventional seed, and others modified with man-made proteins. Those additives fight off pests that can infect crops. "GMO and other products are tools in a farmer's or producers toolbox," Doebler said.

The modification protects the corn that cows eat, which produce your milk and beef. Having more options available for producers is what Congressman Glenn Thompson said keeps the industry competitive. "It makes it a fair fight for our farmers," Thompson said. And keeps local companies afloat.

"It helps them to have more money in the pockets of farmers and farm families at the end of the day," Thompson said. But modifications come with a steeper price tag. The retail value can be up to 60% more than conventional seeds. Ultimately Doebler said breaking down each option helps the community better understand the industry.

"Talk to people and explain to them where their food comes from," Doebler said.

Click here to read the entire article and view the video. 


 On average, the recent research that has been conducted on GMOs, on a per product basis is calculated to be an average of $130 Million (and 13 years). This is a per product average, so each product that reaches commercialization in a given year woul


On average, the recent research that has been conducted on GMOs, on a per product basis is calculated to be an average of $130 Million (and 13 years). This is a per product average, so each product that reaches commercialization in a given year would also cost something similar to this value.


Please see below for additional helpful resources:

By • August 16, 2017

The following is a video of GMO Answers Expert and Ambassador Katie Pratt discussing why she grows GMOs on her farm. 


To see the video on YouTube, please click here

By • August 14, 2017

The following is an excerpt of a blog post from The Farmer's Daughter where she interviews with agronomist Sam Krhovsky about what she does on a daily basis. 

Agronomists are an important part of agriculture, but usually don’t get a lot of recognition. Sam Krhovsky is exactly the kind of person that might change all of that. Naturally, I had to chat with her about what she does and why.

What exactly is an agronomist and what kind of training do you need for that type of job?

I LOVE what I do! It’s definitely a term that most people outside the ag world don’t know….some people assume I study the stars….. The job “agronomist” can vary depending on the farm or company you are working for, but agronomy is the science of producing plants for some type of agricultural purpose, whether its for food, textiles, fiber, etc. In my case, I assist our customers with making management decisions or solving any potential issues with their corn and soybeans. The best way I explained it to my niece: I play Corn Doctor and ask A LOT of questions to get the bottom of a problem or prevent a problem. Are the soybeans looking a little yellow? There could be a lot of reasons why….my job is to figure out that reason and give a prescription to fix it and/or explain how to keep it from happening again.

Training for this job again varies by the company that you work for. In my case at Monsanto, agronomists need to either have a Masters Degree in agriculture or a certain number of years with agricultural sales. Other places may only require a Bachelor’s Degree, or some positions may just want previous experience. All the agronomists I work with have a variety of backgrounds; some of us came straight from graduating with our MS while others works as sales managers in the corn/soybean world for a while. The most important thing you need in this type of job is people skills. You need to be able to communicate efficiently, translate technical information into everyday lingo, and be able to articulate yourself in some tough situations. The best part about working with farmers is they are in a business that they love and have passion for, and you see that every time you walk onto a farm.

Based on your Sassy Agronomist posts I can tell how passionate you are about agriculture. Where does that passion stem from and what gets you excited about farming?

How can you not get excited? When I started putting Sassy Agronomist together, my thought was to give some updates from the field to those already involved in agriculture. My shout out goes to my BFF Cover Crop Gal who encouraged me to go for it. As I started, I began to realize that when I see a lot of agriculture advocacy (or AGvocacy as we tend to call it), there’s not a whole lot that revolves around corn and soybeans. Why not use the page to teach others not just about what I do on a daily basis, but to show what farmers are dealing with? Rather than just posting “hey everyone, gray leaf spot is starting to show up in corn.” I wanted to say “What is gray leaf spot? Why do we care? What do I do about it? Why should YOU care?”

And of course, there’s always some sassy moments. If I learned anything about social media, it’s that funny sells. Especially when you can relate it to real life. Let’s face it, there’s more women in agricultural roles today than there use to be, whether its agronomy, sales, farming, etc. BUT, we technically work in a man’s world. Sometimes we deal with things only other women can understand, like how people don’t recognize me when I’m dressed in normal clothes, or the fact that the agronomy “Sam” is not a 50 year old man with a beard. It’s a ton of fun contrary to what some people might think, and you definitely have to have a good sense of humor to work in this industry!

To read the entire interview, please visit The Farmer's Daughter blog page

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