It is important for farmers to be able to list themselves as a pesticide free so customers can choose to buy their produce with the confidence no pesticides have been used on their produce.
AgWe farms attain the Pesticide Free award when they have not used any pesticides which include all herbicides, fungicides, bactericides, insecticides, and rodenticides on their farm in the previous 12 months of operation.
A Pesticide is term for a product, typically a spray or pellet that kills some sort of pest. Since anything can be considered a pest, pesticides are typically sold in their more specific categories which are, herbicides, fungicides, bactericides, insecticides, and rodenticides. These are used by farmers to reduce the damage different animals, plants, bacteria and fungi can cause which reduce yields and helps to maintain a consistent quality.
It is a common misconception that organic farmers are all pesticide free, however this is not the case. Farmers can buy organic branded pesticides to control their farms weeds, fungi and bacterial infections, and still control problematic insects. The main difference between organic pesticides and chemical based pesticides is how they were created. Organic pesticides must be formulated from a natural source, like a plant. Since it is derived from a natural source it is Organic but still has the same effect as their chemical based counterparts.
Pesticides have grown in popularity since the 1940’s and in 2019 the estimated market size is worth around $84.5 billion and growing. Pesticides “broad spectrum” approach to pest control is so far reaching that it has been used in wars like the Vietnam War where it devastated the Vietnamese people and their environment all the way through to its use on farms to control bacteria. DDT was the most used pesticide in the 1940’s until serve restrictions were imposed in 1972 in the US and across the world. DDT most famously led to the near extinction of the Bald Eagle as well as impacting the population of American songbirds, fish and obviously insects. It is pesticides secondary poisoning effects that have made them so damaging to the environment. Birds, fish, native Australian animals all ate the insects that were sprayed with DDT or other pesticides which would poison them as well.
With pesticide being widely used throughout the agricultural world and knowing the intended effects and side effects they have on wildlife and biodiversity, it is surprising how little data their is available on how they have contributed to the decline in wildlife populations and biodiversity worldwide. Most of this is has been attributed to a lack of reporting and scientific studies.
It can often be hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables that have been produce without the use of pesticides, but here are some tips for what to look out for.