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One Farmer Compares the Production Costs of GMO versus NonGMO Crops

January 9, 2015
Jenny Schmidt lives on a family farm with her husband and two children. Schmidt Farms is located in Sudlersville, MD and grows grains, vegetables, hay and wine grapes. She dedicates a good portion of her time to starting conversations about food and farming with urban consumers based on her experiences through her blog, The Foodie Farmer. In a recent post, Jennie compares the production costs of growing GMO crops to that of NonGMO crops. She makes it clear that the data outlined is "no one else's data; We can't make sustainable business decisions based on hypotheticals or someone else's data."

Read her blog GMO versus NonGMO: The Cost of Production in its entirety to see exact charts and comparisons. We have highlighted some of her conclusions below.
"Answering the question in terms of costs necessitates the entire picture of yield and price per bushel, otherwise a farmer would have an incomplete picture by which to make business decisions that impact the sustainability of the farm. The other critical piece that folks don't seem to grasp is the market demand in various regions...For us, there is a greater demand for GMO derived feed and ingredients than there is for nonGMO feed and ingredients...

"Strange isn't it? You haven't heard that before have you? The media would lead you to believe otherwise, but the media aren't connected to the farm community or its markets. If you are believing only what you read in the media, then you are not seeing the entire picture, just a very small slice of their pie, so to speak."

The first year we planted Bt corn was 2000. 
"The chart shows that it has out-performed conventional corn every single year. What is most noteworthy however, is the importance of its performance in unfavorable growing years. We had drought conditions from 2010-2012...We grew conventional, biotech, and organic corn simultaneously but stopped our organic production in 2011. It average was below 50 bushels per acre and makes a very poor comparison. We decertified our organic ground and for that reason, I no longer include the data."

Likewise in our soybean production history, we have consistently experienced a better yield in our GM soy over our non-GM soy.
"We grow four 'classes' of soy: soy for food, soy for feed, soy for seed, and a specialty GM bean High Oleic (HO) acid beans. 

Even when there is a premium involved with growing a non-GM grain, due to better yields, GM has out-performed non-GM on our farm every year.
"We have experienced higher yields in all of our GM crops in the nearly 17 years we have been using the seeds. We grow what we have market access to sell in our region. Our choice to buy seed is based on the success of various seeds we have tried and well as University research conducted in our area."