You might not believe it, but agriculture’s pesticide footprint is small. In everyday life, the footprint is big! Let me explain.

Pesticide’s Everyday Footprint is Visible 4 Main Ways

1.      Harmful bacteria are killed when utilities apply chlorine to drinking water.

2.      Harmful bacteria are killed when hospitals use disinfectants.

3.      Diseased rodents are exterminated when homeowners use rodenticides.

4.      Nasty insects are repelled when you spray insect repellent containing DEET, an insecticide.

These everyday pesticide uses exist to protect or improve our health. Pesticide use in agriculture is the same. Globally, approximately a third of crops are lost to pests of various kinds, including weeds and rodents.

And, while chemical application of pesticides is used, they are only one method of management. Most pest management methods in farming and ranching are non-chemical.

Broadly, there are two types of pest control: preventative and curative. Preventative measures are used before the attack of the pest and curative measures are used to control the pest after they appear and during their initial attack. Spanning across preventative and curative measures are several methods of pest control.

o   Mechanical/Physical: physical removal of pests, removal of weedy plants such as hand-hoeing, trapping pests, netting, using high- or low-temperature extremes to impact pests.

o   Cultural: crop rotation, deep ploughing, and clean cultivation, optimal use of fertilizers and water to encourage crop vigor and health, growing pest resistant crop varieties, timely planting and harvesting to avert pest growth cycles

o   Chemical: appropriate timely applications of safe and selective organic and synthetic chemicals.

o   Biological: several pests may be controlled to a certain degree by naturally occurring predators, parasites and diseases. We may rely on beneficial organisms already in nature, or may release them into the crop environment.

o   Plant quarantine: control of movement, distribution and spread of pests and infested commodities by state and federal regulations.

To understand the importance of pesticides to agriculture and our health, Arizona Farm Bureau developed a video to explain the issue tapping into information from leading experts including data provided by Arizona’s land-grand university, the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Editor’s note : Data provided by University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, United States Cooperative Extension and Purdue Extension.

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