The global population will increase by 3 billion people by 2050.
This growth will significantly increase the demand for American food and fiber.
America’s farmers are doing their part.
They produce 18% of the world’s food utilizing just 10% of the world’s farmland.
Crop protection products play an important role in making this happen.
Without crop protection products, pests and disease would destroy up to 40 percent of the world's potential crop production.
Ever wonder about the research and technology that helps American farmers provide the healthful fruits and vegetables that you eat?
The first thing to know is that regulations are in place to ensure America's food supply is safe. The US EPA must approve all crop protection products before they are made available for purchase.
Strict federal laws, implemented by the US EPA, dictate the safe use of a crop protection product.
Typically, a crop protection product will undergo 10 years of extensive and rigorous study and safety reviews - overseen by the US EPA - at an average cost of $250,000,000 before making it to market.
Before embarking on a new crop, a farmer visits their local retailer to meet with a Certified Crop Advisor to determine if the use of a crop protection product is needed to ensure maximum crop production.
The Certified Crop Advisor will often visit the farm to test the soil and to help the farmer assess all relevant factors in product selection -- including
weather and specific threats to the field such as insects, molds, or weeds
The Advisor will also review the farmer’s records detailing products that have been previously applied to the fields.
The label is the law for crop protection products. The farmer must adhere to the specific usage guidelines that are clearly stated on the label of each product.
The US EPA defines both the application method and weather conditions for the safe use of each crop protection product.
Factors such as crop type, weather conditions and the application technique all play a critical role in the success of the application and safe, efficient, and effective use of the product.
GPS-guided, precision equipment convert a pesticide formulation into droplets for field application.
The droplets can be large rain-like drops or tiny, nearly-invisible particles allowing for maximum control of the product during application.
The farmer’s ability to fine tune the GPS-guided, product application significantly minimizes the possibility of an off target application.
After the crop protection product is applied to the field, the farmer will clean the application equipment according to US EPA approved guidelines.
Product containers are rinsed three times, and that rinse water is captured too.
US EPA and state regulations dictate the safe disposal of left-over material and recycling of appropriate product containers.
Triple-rinsed plastic product containers are collected from farms and turned into new products.
The recycled plastic may only be used in specific end-use products. It is not used in products available for purchase by the general public.
Thanks to American farmers and the availability of advanced technology and crop protection products, a successful harvest brings safe and nutritious fruits and vegetables to your dinner plate.