Why Should You Care About Seed Diversity? Here are 7 Reasons

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Why Should You Care About Seed Diversity? Here are 7 Reasons
By Brian Barth
Modern Farmer | June 28th, 2018

Traditional seed varieties have disappeared at an alarming rate - but there's still a chance to preserve the astonishing genetic diversity that remains on the world's farms. Here's why it matters.

In the meantime, a few of grain crops have come to dominate U.S. agriculture. Corn or soybeans are now planted on more than 50 percent of our nation’s arable acreage. About 90 percent of those acres are comprised of just a handful of genetically-engineered seeds varieties. In fact, there are just 12 varieties of corn remaining at the USDA’s National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado, compared to the 307 available at the turn of the 20th century.

The decline of seed diversity is a result of the relentless effort to industrialize agriculture. While this approach has in many cases improved yields, it has not been without consequences. The good news is that today, hundreds of seed and crop preservation groups across the world are working to revive lost and endangered varieties. These seed activists believe the genetic diversity of crops to be one of humanity’s greatest assets. Here’s why.

  • Flavor Matters
  • The Earth Is Diverse
  • The Future Is Uncertain
  • Staying a Step Ahead of Pests and Disease
  • Extending the Harvest
  • Spreading Out the Risk
  • Every Seed Has a Story to Tell

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