Genetic Engineering

What We Fight for

  1. Stronger review of proposed genetically engineered crops, seafood, and livestock prior to approval
  2. Seed sovereignty - fair and open access to and ownership of heritage, hybrid and conventional (non-genetically modified) seeds
  3. Ecology-based biodiversity of seeds, crops, livestock and seafood
  4. GE labeling laws at state, national and international levels

Past Progress

On the eve of the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Seattle, 34 farm organizations across the United States released the Farmer Declaration on Genetic Engineering. In 2000 these groups assembled to establish the Farmer to Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering, a project hosted by the NFFC. We sought to build a farmer-driven campaign focused on the risks of genetic engineering in agriculture and to provide a national forum for farmer action on agricultural biotechnology issues.

In addition to issuing the Declaration, Farmer to Farmer published educational materials on the liabilities of genetic engineering; conducted trainings to develop farmer leaders on GE issues; submitted comments to USDA and FDA; and urged congressional oversight over the flawed review and approval process of GE crops and seeds. From 2000-2010, other activities included recommendations on farm and trade issues; strategy, media, policy development and fundraising assistance to grassroots campaigns; and collaborations with national and international environmental, consumer and faith-based organizations to support farmer-driven campaigns on GE issues.

In 2009, Farmer to Farmer also published the Out of Hand Report to outline the problems farmers have faced through concentration in the seed industry, including diminished options, higher costs and the increased use of toxic herbicides.

Moving Forward:

Since February 2012, NFFC has participated in bi-weekly calls with allied organizations, farmers and media to monitor and oppose the deregulation of new GE crops resistant to 2,4-D, dicamba, and similar herbicides. An April 2012 tele-press call on Dow Chemical's proposed 2,4-D corn led to articles published online by Reuters, San Francisco Chronicle and others. In August 2013, farmer Margot McMillen participated in a webinar by the Presbyterian Hunger Program. NFFC has worked with allies to ensure that Congress does not further limit USDA's review process or the federal courts' ability to protect farmers and the environment from unlawfully approved, possibly hazardous GE crops.