I spotted the above sign recently at the University of Wisconsin Allen Centennial Gardens, a free educational facility that teaches students and the public about gardening and landscaping.
"The last open pollinated corn was released in 1902 - 115 years ago!Here's a concise explanation from Green Haven:
“Open Pollinated” is a horticultural term meaning that the plant will produce seeds naturally. When these seeds are planted they will reliably reproduce the same plant as the parent. On the other hand, hybrid corn is the result of controlled pollination of inbred plants. These seeds are often sterile, and if they do germinate, will not reliably produce the same plant as the parent. This means the farmer has a perpetual reliance on the seed companies.
This dependence on a few seed/chemical giants is becoming more and more uncomfortable for American consumers and farmers. Green Haven Open Pollinated Seed Group is changing that. We are a nationwide organization of seed producers based in western NY that are pooling out efforts to offer the most beneficial varieties of quality open pollinated Seed. By selection, Green Haven focuses on improving open pollinated corn for silage, grain, and wildlife plots.