Food Bullying Podcast

Why do farmers sign contracts to use GMO seeds? Episode 64


Did you know popcorn is an entirely different crop than the sweet corn you enjoy on the cob? Eliz didn’t! Michele and Eliz welcome Brian Scott to talk about popcorn, sweet corn, field corn, GMOs, and why seeds are intellectual property.

Brian is a corn, soybean, popcorn, and wheat farmer in northwest Indiana raising two young boys on the farm with his wife, Nicole. He started The Farmer’s Life blog in 2011 as a way to reach out to people across the world who don’t have farming as a part of their daily life.

Key points:

What is the difference between sweet corn, field corn, and popcorn?

  • Field corn harvested when dry
  • Sweet corn harvested when juicy
  • Popcorn outside of kernel thicker than sweet corn
  • Sweet corn and & popcorn account for about 1% of all corn grown
  • Field corn goes to animal feed, corn oil extraction, or ethanol

Why is some corn labeled GMO, but not all?

  • There is no GMO popcorn.
  • Most sweet corn is modified to keep worms out of the plant. If the worm takes a bite, the worm dies. Farmers don’t have to spray the plants to protect them.
  • Field corn is modified to allow farmers to keep weeds from taking nutrients, light, and water from the plants. This allows farmers to use a single herbicide.

Why do farmers have to sign a contract with seed companies?

  • It takes tremendous effort and money to create a new seed product.
  • A farmer can choose which seeds will work best in their fields. They are not under corporate control.
  • Farmers don’t “save seeds” to plant next year because the offspring isn’t the same as the original. Planting equipment is also very precise. The machinery needs very consistently sized and clean seeds.

The Farmers LifeThree tips to overcome Food Bullying:

  1. Don’t pay attention to labels
  2. Eat what tastes good to you
  3. Know farmers care about the environment


Brian Scott Website:





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