Why don’t farmers save seeds?

posted in: Science | 1

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?

Follow NirOksenberg:
I am a postdoc in the Pamela Ronald lab at UC Davis studying drought tolerance in rice. In graduate school I studied the mechanisms of gene regulation of genes implicated in autism as well as human evolution. I am excited about sharing science with the public and always willing to have a coffee break. @NirOksenberg
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