Are farmers forced to use GM seeds, or can they choose the seeds that work best for them?
Farmers are free to choose the seeds they use to grow their crops based on their specific soil type, the local growing environment, market demand and their personal preferences. They can purchase non-GM conventional seeds, GM seeds or organic seeds. Many farmers choose to use GM seeds to reduce crop damage from weeds, diseases and insects, as well as adverse weather conditions such as drought. Advancements in breeding and seed technologies have allowed many farmers to maintain or improve yield while using less fertilizer, pesticides and water. In other cases, farmers have used GM seeds to save a crop, such as Hawaiian papaya that was threatened by disease.
Through their own research and by working with certified seed advisors, university extension specialists and other professional partners, farmers are in an excellent position to select the right type of seed and the proper mix of inputs to best manage their farm for both profit and environmental stewardship.
USFRA supports diversity, including making non-GM seeds available based on market demand. An important part of maintaining crop diversity is ensuring that practices are in place to reduce cross-contamination of different types of crops and seeds.