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PNS Daily News - September 22, 2020 

The Supreme Court vacancy raises stakes for a reproductive-rights campaign; voter-registration deadlines are just around the corner; and the pandemic compounds child-care woes.

2020Talks - September 22, 2020 

It's National Voter Registration Day. Plus, the Supreme Court and abortion are back, center stage, in the election spotlight.

WI Researchers Working to Keep Organic Corn Organic

August 9, 2011

EAST TROY, Wis. - Pollen goes where the wind blows it, but for organic corn farmers in Wisconsin, pollen from genetically-modified corn is blowing in an ill wind. With nearly 90 percent of the corn in Wisconsin fields genetically modified, organic corn can be easily contaminated every time the wind comes up, and such contamination means the crop can no longer be certified as organic.

A coalition of non-profit groups, the USDA, and several seed companies are breeding organic corn in the hopes that one day it will not be able to cross-pollinate with the altered corn and thus protect organic crops from contamination.

Walter Goldstein, research program director at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, says it is difficult to prevent pollen from pollinating.

"Pollen does escape and it does pollinate the corn of neighboring farmers who don't want to grow transgenic corn."

Goldstein notes that the cross-pollination problem makes it very hard for organic farmers to make a living in some cases.

"If you can imagine being in the position of an organic seed producer being at the mercy of the wind, in terms of being able to produce a crop, it's not a very good situation."

Goldstein says a solution needs to be found, as more and more acreage is devoted to the altered crops, and as seed companies are continuing to consolidate, leaving farmers with almost no choice.

He says the research is also aimed at trying to make the corn more nutritional, both for humans and as a livestock feed. Another goal is to develop corn that uses nitrogen more efficiently, to protect lakes, streams and groundwater from too much nitrogen fertilizer.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI