Genetically modified organism (GMO); Genetically engineered (GE); Subsistence agriculture; Adoption of innovation; Hybrid field corn; GMO/GE field corn; Alternative agricultural production; Smallholders


Mass adoption and planting of genetically modified corn are part of the larger industrialized agricultural production system in the United States. Amish and conservative Mennonite farmers in the Holmes County settlement region offer an alternative production system often characterized by lower usage of chemical inputs, greater implementation of crop rotation, and significantly higher usage of hybrid versus GMO field corn. Moreover, the rationale among Amish/Mennonite farmers toward adoption of GMO (based on “convenience”) or rejection of GMO (based on “too many unknowns”) stems both from cultural diffusion of neighboring farms as well as variable need for nonfarm income. This article focuses on attitudes toward adoption or rejection of GMO hybrid corn among Amish and Mennonite farmers as diversified smallholders over a longitudinal panel study conducted from 2011 to 2019. Further, this article discusses how adoption or rejection of GMO field corn impacts issues of uncertainty, flexibility, and accumulation relative to subsistence strategies among Amish/Mennonite farmers as part of an alternative production system to industrial agriculture. [Abstract by author.]


I would like to acknowledge the guidance of Dr. Deborah H. Stinner, The Ohio State University, for her mentorship of Amish and Conservative Mennonite farming from an agroecosystems approach; and Richard H. Moore, The Ohio State University, in sharing his expertise and understanding of Amish culture and agriculture from an anthropological perspective.