From: Food Dialogues
Bugs, crop diseases and weeds are realities of life. Whether organic or conventional, farmers face these challenges each day. If tools like insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers were not available, entire crops could be wiped out and the stability of our food supply would be destroyed.
For example: “Without pesticides, U.S. food production would drop and food prices would soar. With lower production and higher prices, U.S. farmers would be less competitive in global markets for major grains, cotton, and peanuts. U.S. exports of corn, wheat, and soybeans would drop 27 percent, with a loss of 132,000 jobs. A pesticide ban in the U.S. would decrease year-ending supplies of corn, wheat, and soybeans 73 percent, trigger price instability, slow U.S. food aid programs to poor countries, and increase worldwide hunger.”
The Growing Human Population and Pesticides Humans are among the most successful living things on Earth. In just a few thousand years, we have colonized every continent, adapted to nearly every type of habitat, and, in biblical terms, multiplied and filled all the Earth.
Much of this success is traced to our ability to solve problems and change habitats to suit our purposes. For instance, warm clothing and constructed shelters let us live in cold climates that would otherwise kill us. We coax high productivity through the breeding and management of food plants and animals. Through knowledge and technology, we control diseases, fungi, weeds, nematodes, insects, birds, rodents, and other pests that would otherwise shorten our lives or compete with us for food.
However, no species enjoys unlimited population growth. All living things are limited by their resources, disease, or natural disasters. Man is no exception. Some wonder if our natural resources can sustain the soaring human population. Until human population growth stabilizes, and it probably will not until the middle of the next century, 1 we must use our natural resources efficiently.
Pesticides are one tool that lets us do that. In fact, the abundant food and high standard of living we enjoy in the United States would not be possible without pesticides. However, many people today think that pesticides are unacceptably dangerous to the environment or to man. Citizens want to know more about pesticides, their benefits, their risks, and the ways government regulates them. With good information, citizens are better able to analyze the arguments of both opponents and supporters of pesticide use. Pesticide policies should be formulated based on facts and reason instead of false perceptions and hysteria.