A report released this fall argues that pesticides have done more good than harm as they’ve bolstered food production across the United States and Canada — and that their application should be expanded to help feed the world’s growing population by 2050.It strikes me that the brilliant minds at EPA who are clearly aiming to get rid of pesticides out of some primal loyalty to Rachael Carson's "Silent Spring" are like the mothers at Whole Foods who deny their children the benefits of vaccination because they have not seen the ravages of measles in their lifetimes because vaccination all but eliminated measles in the US before their birth.
The report, released as Issue Paper 55 by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, a nonprofit backed by companies like Dow AgroSciences and groups like the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, states that pesticides have contributed to greater crop yields while lessening the legwork required to combat pests and increasing farmers’ incomes.
Overall, pesticides have “improved the prospects for long-term sustainable food production,” the paper states.
But a growing body of research and advocates would call that thesis into question, or at least pose another question, “At what cost?”
A decade-long study by the U.S. Geological Survey also released this fall found that the presence of pesticides continues to be a concern for aquatic life in many of the nation’s rivers and streams. The report found that the presence of pesticides in the water ebbed and flowed with new regulations that affected their use on nearby lands.
It suggested that more research is needed to determine the full effects of pesticides on natural resources.
Back in the "good old days" of agriculture before pesticides, it was often a race between the bugs and the farmers as to who would gather most of the harvest. Between fertilizers (another target of EPA), pesticides and farm equipment, the yield of food per unit cropland has grown enormously:
|Source: Wonk Blog|
Without pesticides and fertilizers, it's doubtful the United States could support it's current populace, let alone export food to help feed the remainder of the world.
On the other hand, that may be another reason they oppose it. It's not so much they love the environment, as they just hate people.
A song my Dad used to sing:
I think he did it better.