Why don’t farmers save seeds?

Written by Nir Oksenberg

Until recently, I never put too much thought into where farmers get the seeds that they grow into the foods we eat. I assumed they saved seeds from their previous crop. I thought this would give the farmer more control over his or her operation and save money. I presumed that if a farmer chose to buy seeds, they would do so out of convenience. In reality, most farmers buy new seeds every year because of genetics! Now I know, and to help people understand the scientific rationale of purchasing new seeds every year, a group of young scientists, including myself, made a short video.
In the video, we describe what hybrid plants are, and their benefits to agriculture. We illustrate what would happen if a farmer kept and grew the seeds produced by the hybrid plants.

The video was made by UC Davis scientists Jenna Gallegos (graduate student), Don Gibson (graduate student), David Coil (project scientist), and Nir Oksenberg (postdoc). We are members of the  Science Policy and Communication Group (SPCG). The SPCG is a project of the UC Davis World Food Center’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy (IFAL) and also receives support from the UC Global Food Initiative – Communication, Literacy, and Education for Agricultural Research (CLEAR) program.
Did you like the video? What would you like to see us do next?

Written by Guest Expert

Nir Oksenberg is a professional science communicator for the Delta Stewardship Council, a California state agency. He fosters productive communication among scientists, the public, water managers, and policymakers. He has a PhD in human genetics from the University of California, San Francisco and was a postdoctoral fellow at UC Davis studying the rice response to bacteria, flooding, and drought in Pamela Ronald’s lab.

1 comment

  1. The article as well as video is very interesting. Please tell me more about Biology Fortified and why farmers do not save their seeds.I think there is need to establish seed Bank @1000 farmers.It will help farmers to save their seeds.Hybrid seeds also prevent to save seeds.

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