and Chemical Application
Americas farmers consistently produce enough
crops and livestock to feed not only our nation, but also to send
food to nations around the world. To maximize their production and
maintain their world leadership role, farmers depend on a wide variety
of "tools" including chemicals like pesticides, herbicides,
and fertilizers. Unless these chemicals are carefully controlled
they can seriously impair water quality.
Farmers must strike a delicate balance, figuring out exactly the
right amount of chemicals to do the desired job. If they apply too
little, they wont get bigger yields or kill pests. If they
apply too much, they literally watch their money wash away (those
chemicals cost money) as the chemicals run off the fields.
What alternatives do farmers have?
the land and applying best management practices (BMPs) either
reduces the amount of chemicals that run off the fields or "captures
" them before they reach the water.
crops that are genetically engineered to resist pests or herbicides
is an option that can reduce chemical application.
- Some farmers
choose not to use any chemicals, eliminating potential chemical
threats to water quality. This organic approach requires an entirely
different set of tools, and targets a much different market than
the typical farmer aims for.