A lot of activist groups want to ban crop protection products. You’ve probably heard their names: the Pesticide Action Network. The National Resources Defense Council. The Environmental Working Group. Farmers know what a catastrophe it would be to their farms if they had no protection against weeds, bugs, fungus and other pests. But most people aren’t so aware that banning pesticides would be an environmental, human rights and economic catastrophe for Kansas and the U.S. as a whole, too.
In a recent interview with CropLife’s Leonard Gianessi on Green State TV, Gianessi discusses the how much herbicide use has benefited the ecology and the environmental disaster we would unleash if the activists go their way. Water resources would be depleted faster, and the gains against soil erosion — down 90 percent on farms that replaced tillage with herbicides — would be reversed. In fact, if the whole country went “organic,” we’d return to the dust-bowl days of the great depression. In another interview available on Green State TV, Gianessi talks about how the invention of modern herbicides make it possible for California to pass historic legislation that outlawed the “short handled hoe” that forced farm workers — mostly migrant laborers — to stoop for 8 to 10 hours a day and destroy their backs. Later, the state realized that they’d left an exception for hand weeding, so they outlawed that too — but due to lobbying by the organic lobby, wrote in an exception for organic farms.
Meanwhile, on the economic side, Crop Life has just issued a report showing that crop protection products add over $476 million to the Kansas economy and $166.5 billion nationally. Families in the U.S. save roughly $280 per year thanks to crop protection.
So if you care about the environment, human rights, keeping U.S. jobs and affordable prices at the grocery store — not to mention our farms — you can tell the activists to go take a hike!