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Non-GMO canola may be niche for Georgia farmers

By Dan Rahn
University of Georgia

The aversion many people have to genetically modified organisms might become the canola marketing advantage Georgia farmers need.

Most canola varieties are genetically modified for herbicide resistance, said Paul Raymer, a crop scientist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

But none of those GMO varieties are registered for use in the Southern United States. "We can produce non-GMO canola," Raymer said.

"We're in the unique position in North America of having no GMO varieties grown around us," he said. That means Georgia farmers won't have to worry about cross-pollination or mixing at consolidation points with GMO canola varieties.

European shoppers are particularly keen on non-GMO products. "But we don't have to go to Europe to find markets for non-GMO canola," he said.

No one knows how much value non-GMO canola would add to the crop. "We don't have any markets locked down," Raymer said. "But I think it's certainly worth pursuing."

(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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