Can genetically modified crops coexist with organic crops?

Farmers growing crops under different farming practices – whether conventional, genetically modified (GM) or organic – in close proximity is known as coexistence. Coexistence is well established and understood, occurring successfully for decades around the world. However, the introduction of GM crops nearly 20 years ago generated renewed discussions about the coexistence of conventional, organic and GM crops.

Over the last decade, several studies and reports have concluded that coexistence between conventional, organic and GMO crops is readily achievable and is occurring.

  • Farmers have been coexisting successfully for years through good communication, cooperation, flexibility and mutual respect for each other’s’ practices and requirements.
  • Since coexistence strategies can be different depending on the crops and practices used, experts recommend that neighbors work together to develop coexistence plans on a case-by-case basis.
  • There are no health and safety concerns with conventional, organic or GM seeds. Farmers choose what to grow based on market preference and other considerations.

The presence of biotech does not impact an organic farmer’s certification – as long as a grower has not intentionally planted GMO seed.

  • Recently the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) updated and clarified its policy regarding organic and GMO processes and coexistence. In short, USDA said the detectable presence of GMO material in a crop does not constitute a violation of NOP standards and regulations, as long as a grower has not intentionally planted GMO seed and has taken reasonable steps to avoid contact with GMO pollen or seed or both.

Monsanto Hawaii supports farmer choice and the use of multiple farming practices.

  • Monsanto Hawaii does not believe there are “good” or “bad” ways to grow food. Rather, Monsanto believes farmers should have the freedom to choose the production method best suited for their needs, and we support conventional, biotech and organic practices.
  • All of the agricultural systems can and do work effectively side by side, meeting the varied needs of different consumers and the demands of a growing population.