One of the big reasons that might cause one to distrust the large seed companies and their motives (Monsanto, Syngenta, etc.) is the fact that their product can only be used for one generation. I had in my head a picture of the farmer very carefully setting aside some of the seed for planting the following year. While this may have been the case in the distant past this is no longer the case. For the most part (according to Amada at thefarmersdaughter.com) farmers have no desire to go through the motions of collecting, cleaning, and packaging seed for subsequent years. Evidently this practice was discontinued with the advent of hybrid varieties in the 1930s. Here’s a great video about hybrids and how they relate to seed.
Therefore, the fact that a layman might be crying foul over this practice (of allowing a farmer to use seed for only one season) may actually be a non-issue. It was a hot-button for me, but now no longer thanks to Amanda. If anyone has access to statistics regarding the practice of saving seed, please leave a comment. Here is an article that mentions some resources for those who still want to save seed (seed exchanges, seed swaps). This is obviously directed more toward the small/niche farmer and heirloom crop varieties. See our post about the ‘Seed’ movie which is presently screening for a competing view here.