In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to spray our crops with anything… because in a perfect world, there would be no pests or threats to crop health. But that’s not how this world works. Weeds, diseases, and insects are all things that threaten the health and progress of our crops. They also are the biggest yield stealers.
Ryan is our man. The spray specialist. He’s the mixologist, the professional applicator, and knows the most about chemical out of any of the guys on the farm. He’s in the sprayer from April through early August making multiple passes across the fields working to protect them from harm. I mean, I guess he’s kind of like Captain America, but we can’t tell him that to his face because he’d get a big head. How did he land this job? Well, he’s just lucky I guess.
Spraying chemicals on crops is probably one of the most scrutinized practices of conventional crop farmers today. There are many misconceptions over the use of chemicals in crop production, and we are here to help you understand why we use them. I expanded on the latest post on my blog, I got a little long-winded for the gram. Please go check it out if you want to learn more!
Conventional vs. Organic. Let me start this off first with, WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM. When I’ve spoken on this topic in the past, I’ve been misconstrued. I am in support of all farmers, organic and conventional alike. We are all working towards the same goal, feeding the world and keeping our land sustainable. It’s just the way we get there that’s different.
One thing I can’t get behind are marketing tactics used by certain companies to make consumers believe conventionally produced food isn’t safe. BOTH conventional and organically produced foods are safe.
Here’s one fact that isn’t always understood by the consumer:
BOTH conventional and organic farms are allowed to use pesticides. (a pesticide can be a herbicide, fungicide or insecticide) The main difference is on an organic farm, the pesticide used must be naturally derived. But “natural” doesn’t always equate to “safer”. And, natural doesn’t always mean it’s better for the environment! Not every organic farm chooses to use pesticides, but if you’re buying products at the supermarket labeled “organic” thinking they are all going to be free of the use of them, you would be wrong. The only way you would be able to buy completely pesticide-free products is to go directly to an organic farmer himself and ask what their practices are and buy straight from them.
Scientists started to derive synthetic chemicals keeping in mind how long they will stay in the environment and how they accumulate in the soil. I’m not saying synthetic is better by any means, but there is thought behind the production of these products and their environmental impact. And the truth is some naturally derived products do more harm to the environment, which is why changes needed to be made. Most often, we’re able to use less synthetic chemicals in the spray tank as well.
Farmers have to go to school to be certified to apply pesticides to fields. Every 3 years, they have to be updated on their certification and re-take an updated test. Crop production practices continue to evolve and we’re required to stay up-to-date to be compliant. Over the years, we have been able to utilize knowledge of integrated pest management to reduce the overall amount of chemicals used and reduce environmental impact.
Here’s the truth for any kind of farmer out there. We are stewards of the land. We implement practices that we believe are what’s best for the land and farming operation we run. We want this land to be around for generations to come. And we wouldn’t produce anything that we wouldn’t put on our own tables as well. You can rest easy in these truths and know that farmers of all kinds are working for you and for a healthy planet.