Genetic Contamination of Abbe Hills
Because of the large number of commercially available genetically engineered traits in corn, the cost of genetic purity testing is prohibitively high (over $600 for all genes in corn in Iowa). No tests for genetic purity were done on the 2012 crop, so nothing can be said about its possible contamination with engineered genes.
The corn grown at Abbe Hills Farm in 2001 tested positive for a Bt gene (likely YieldGuard), and many seed corn customers were unable to purchase seed in 2002 because of their organic certification requirements. Negative tests of the 2002, 2003, and 2005 (no crop in 2004 and 2008, no test in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012) crops suggest that the contamination level must have been quite low, or perhaps was selected out of this population (until 2005, at least).
Since the introduction of genetically engineered crops, Abbe Hills Farm has done as much as possible to protect the seed crop from contamination by genetically engineered pollen from neighboring fields. However, Iowa is awash in corn pollen for a few weeks every summer, and it is impossible to totally protect the crop for pollen from neighboring fields. In 2012, about 90% of that pollen was from corn that had been genetically engineered to resist certain weed killers or kill certain insect pests. Laura has spoken many times publicly about the problems of genetic contamination for anyone who is trying to produce an organic or identity-preserved corn crop in Iowa, and will continue to advocate for the rights of those who are not interested in growing genetically engineered crops, either on purpose or because of contamination.