Seed World

Pesticides in Ag: Their Role, Efficacy and Future

With pesticides under the proverbial microscope, agriculturalists need to keep a close eye on consumer perceptions as their voices could influence future policy. With questions about sustainability and safety from consumers, and efficacy and longevity from farmers, pesticides have many questions that need answers.

A recent report by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that 98.7% of domestic food for human consumption were compliant with federal standards and no pesticide residues at all were found in 42.4% of domestic food. Regardless of federal inspections, doubts about safety in the food supply persist.

In addition, efficacy concerns at the farm gate have farmers taking a closer look at the pesticides on their farm. The pesticides used on farms today are different formulations than those of 50 years ago, even if farmers are leaning on traditional chemistries in the fight against resistance. How do today’s formulations stack up in terms of efficacy and safety?

This week on Seed Speaks, Seed World Group Editorial Director Sonja Begemann is joined by pesticide experts from across North America. Joining the panel is:

  • John Jamieson, president and CEO of the Canada Centre for Food Integrity (CFFI). He joined CCFI after several leadership roles within Canadian ag organizations. Jamieson is also a professional agrologist and certified nutrient management planner.
  • Fred Whitford, coordinator of Purdue Pesticide Programs. Whitford has co-authored five books, spoken at thousands of events and field days and worked as a regulator before moving to Purdue University.
  • Aaron Hager, associate professor and University of Illinois (U of I) Extension weed scientist. He’s worked U of I for almost 30 years where he specializes in weed science, namely the evolution of various weed species. In that same research, he’s developed a strong understanding of herbicide systems.