Hungry for Truth Sprayer

An Insider’s View on Spraying

Throughout the summer, you’ve likely seen machinery, like tractors or even airplanes, traveling across the fields spraying crops with pesticides. For many, pesticides seem daunting or even dangerous, but for farmers they are a tool used to protect their crops from harmful diseases, insects and weeds.

Without pesticides, food crops could fail, or yields could be severely reduced; either of which would send food prices soaring. These are powerful tools and farmers treat them as such. In fact, every farmer must go through training and certification before they can apply pesticides, and all pesticide products are extensively tested to ensure the safety of food, people, wildlife and the environment before they can enter the market.

Many farmers spray crops during the summer season. Crops have sprouted out of the ground at the same time as outside pressures have ramped up. Weeds are growing at the same time, wanting the same nutrients as the crops. Insects are looking to feed on crops. Diseases begin to spread through the water and soil. Farmers are out in the fields maintaining the health of their crops.

The three main types of pesticides are herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, which protect against weeds, diseases and insects. Very similar to the products you might use in your own garden, pesticides make for a healthy plant, which makes for healthy food.

Morgan, a first-generation farmer from southeastern South Dakota, shares on her blog what spraying season is all about. Read more about how Morgan’s family uses pesticides to keep their crops healthy all season long here.

Photo credit: United Soybean Board.

2 thoughts on “An Insider’s View on Spraying

  1. The problem I have with spraying is that it is a scientific fact that those pesticides REMAIN in our food. Over 60 countries have banned Monsanto and yet, the US continues to poison us. It isn’t right. I am on a fixed income but because I am tired of being sick all the time, I have to spend more on groceries to buy only organic food and non-gmo food.

    1. Hi Sherry,

      Thanks for reading our blog and joining the conversation! Pesticides are an important topic to discuss when it comes to food and farming. First, I’d like to share that any health concerns you have should be discussed with your physician and dietitian. While we can’t comment on your personal health issues, we can share a little bit about how pesticides are regulated for all of our safety.

      Farmers share your concerns about pesticides and never want to overapply. Using excess pesticides isn’t good for farmers’ crops or their wallets.

      Pesticide use is monitored and tested by the USDA, EPA and FDA to make sure the food we get in the grocery store is safe for our families. You might be surprised to learn that both organically and conventionally grown crops use regulated pesticides to control harmful weeds and pests. The EPA sets residue tolerances for every pesticide, and the FDA tests all domestic and foreign food products to make sure residue levels do not exceed what is safe for humans to consume. The trace amounts of pesticide residues in our food don’t present any risk to human health.

      Everyone who uses pesticides is trained to safely apply them in the field. In fact, all farmers must go through a certification process to be approved to use pesticides on their crops. No matter the growing method, the USDA recommends washing fruits and vegetables under running water before cooking or consuming them.

      If you’re interesting in talking more with Morgan or another local farmer, we would be happy to set that up for you.

      Thanks again!

      Sarah Tveidt
      South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council

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