March 13, 2023
At a Glance
- Farmers deeply care about the land entrusted to them.
Farmers don’t expect roars from the crowd or standing ovations from the studio audience for delivering an outstanding performance, but they certainly would like to be recognized for the good they do. Their stewardship of crop protection products is just one example.
Time and again, farmers prove to be the first environmentalists. Most farmers carefully manage the inputs applied to their crops because first and foremost it makes economic sense not to use more pesticides than you need, but equally important, most farmers deeply care about the land entrusted to them.
Farmers did receive a much welcome pat on the back from North Carolina State University Extension Weed Specialist Wes Everman at a corn and soybean production meeting Feb. 10 at the Wilson County Agriculture Center in Wilson. “You’ve been doing a good job,” Everman said at the meeting.
“We can manage our weeds. You guys have been doing it. I feel like you guys have been listening since it was Dr. York (Alan York, the now retired, long-serving and much-respected N.C. State weed specialist) talking about this (the herbicide resistance issue) coming on the scene early on,” Everman said.
“If you guys weren’t listening, we’d have four or five- and six-way stacks of resistance already. Keep doing what you’re doing. Stay on top of what weeds you’re not killing, mix or match herbicides to try to keep Mother Nature guessing. Make sure you’re active in your management. Be effective with your weed identification so you know when something new shows up or something out of the ordinary isn’t getting controlled, so you can reach out to the right folk,” he said.
Everman encouraged farmers to continue to reach out to Extension for help and guidance. He stressed Extension is a great resource to farmers on herbicide recommendations, weed identification and a multitude of other effective crop management guidelines.
Resistance management isn’t the only challenge farmers face when it comes to applying crop protection products. The greater challenge is resistance from activist groups that would like to ban all of the products farmers need to control yield-robbing pests. The latest challenge is compliance with the Endangered Species Act which could well threaten the registration of both new and existing chemistries.
Whether it be weed resistant or resistance from activist groups, the challenges facing farmers in controlling pests will only become more daunting. Strong advocacy on behalf of farmers for the continued safe use of crop protection products from Farm Bureau and commodity groups is needed now more than ever. Now is not the time for farmers and farm groups to remain silent.
Farmers are good stewards of crop protection products. Policy makers, the EPA and most importantly, activist groups need to know that. All of them should applaud the American farmer, who uses pesticides in a safe, effective manner.
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