As someone who grew up on a conventional family farm that uses pesticides and someone who works in the crop protection business, it bothers me when people assume that farmers douse their crops with all kinds of chemicals just for the heck of it. This is simply not true.
First of all, the term chemicals or pesticides have a negative connotation and just sound bad. That’s why we refer to them as crop protection products. Why? Because they’re doing just that. They’re products that are protecting crops.
When farmers spray a field with crop protection products, they’re spraying it for a reason. Crop protection products help protect crops from diseases, weeds and insects. Much of our crops would be lost without crop protection products.
This also helps keep food costs lower. Canadian families save 58 percent on their weekly grocery bills thanks to modern crop protection and plant biotechnology tools, according to CropLife Canada.
The use of crop protection products is not growing in Canada, as some would want you to believe. In fact, it is decreasing. Development of better products, new technology and more precise application methods have resulted in the usage of crop protection products to significantly decrease and this trend is expected to continue.
Another reason farmers don’t overuse crop protection products is the cost. These products are expensive – so why would a farmer want to spray if it’s not necessary?
As well, in Canada, crop protection products undergo years of testing and hundreds of scientific studies to ensure they meet health and environmental conditions before hitting the market. It takes about 10 years and about $256 million to bring a new crop protection product from research and development through to commercialization, according to CropLife Canada. The government is not going to allow a product that may be damaging to human health or the environment.
My blogger friend Sarah Hewitt wrote a comprehensive post on this very subject on her blog, Faith, Farming and Cowboy Boots. I encourage you to check it out.
And visit CropLife Canada for lots of great information on this topic. If you have any questions about the use of crop protection products in agriculture, please let me know and I’ll do my best to get you some answers.