Seed quality problematic, as is need
for more genetic information

Too often, farmers not offered the organic seed they need.

By Mike Hilton

Editor’s NOTE:

Response to Richard Glenister’s letter Organic farmers left holding the bag for substandard seed in response to Jeff Moyer’s column titled Let’s get real, and all commit to using organic seed.

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Posted March 15, 2007: As a consultant in the organic industry I have to agree with Richard on the status/condition of the organic seed. I deal with many organic farmers who have had tremendous problems on their farms with organic seed.

My first question to the suppliers is why they are charging so much for their seed. My second question is why many companies in the seed business will not share genetics with us. How are we to know that the labeled hybrids and varieties are right for our area?

I was in the seed industry for 28 years. I still am in a smaller way. The genetics that are being offered to the farmers are not the best for the regions they farm. Many suppliers think that organic production is less yielding anyway, so they offer the same hybrids and varieties they produce in the area that the home office is located.

I agree that the seed should be organically grown but the rules need to change to a win-win situation to help the organic farmer, who is taking the most risk.