As we drive down the highway, going through beautiful farmland, most of us don’t have a clue as to what goes on behind the scenes to create such a picture, and produce a successful crop.  Pests are a huge concern to farmers, and we want to share some information on the subject of pest control.

Pesticides help our agriculture industry through the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) Integrated Pest Management system.  In agricultural settings, their approach is that less risky pest controls are used first (biopesticides).  The second stage is determining the level at which the pest is an economic threat to the crop.  Next, to monitor and identify when and what type of pesticide is needed.  Rotating different crops, pest-resistant varieties, or pest-free rootstock can be a more economical way to deter damage from pests and provide little or no risk to humans and the environment.  Broadcast spraying of a non-specific pesticide is a last resort.

New EPA safety requirements are meant to protect agricultural workers against pesticides used in crop fields.  Soil fumigants are pesticides that go into the soil and create a gas that kills several types of soil-borne pests in the fields.  This type of pesticide can cause health problems ranging from eye or respiratory irritation to more severe and irreversible effects.
Since these are restricted-use pesticides, only specially trained personnel can apply and oversee these types of operations.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, responsible use of soil, air and water resources for the production of food, feed and fiber must be balanced with the need to minimize impacts on human health, and preserve natural ecosystems.  As agrochemicals remain a cornerstone of pest management in U.S. agriculture, there is a continuing need to evaluate environmental transport processes and factors in assessing risk and in the development of mitigation strategies. Research is needed for an understanding of fate and effects. Such efforts will permit better science-based decisions as a basis for policy regarding the use of agrochemicals in U. S. agriculture.  Farmers need a variety of sustainable production options since no production system will be appropriate for every set of circumstances.  The use of agrochemicals must be evaluated due to the ecological risks associated with them.

Pest control is just one of the many problems that our agriculture industry copes with as they produce the nation’s food.  Keeping farm workers safe from the effects of pesticides is foremost.