PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK NORTH AMERICA UPDATES SERVICE
Over 40,000 U.S. Farmers Significantly Reduce Pesticide Use
August 29, 1994
Over 40,000 farmers in 32 states have significantly reduced
their use of chemical pesticides according to a report
prepared for the United States Senate Committee on
Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. The Pesticide Use
Reduction Assessment, compiled for a June 1994 hearing on the
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA),
indicates that a wide variety of alternative management
techniques are being applied by U.S. farmers in response to
both environmental and economic concerns.
The Senate Agriculture Committee commissioned the survey of
state Extension Service Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Coordinators to collect data on the number of farmers using
particular strategies, the number of acres of production
affected, and the overall impacts on pesticide use and net
farm income. IPM Coordinators were also asked to provide
specific examples of successful alternative pest management
The survey's findings include:
-- In Alabama, 2,300 cotton growers, farming 420,000 acres,
reduced their use of pyrethroid and carbamate insecticides by
40% through the use of IPM pest control methods.
-- In California, approximately 7,100 almond growers, farming
on over 434,000 acres, used a variety of monitoring and
management practices and achieved a 78% reduction in
insecticide use without a decrease in yield or quality. Also,
growers utilizing IPM techniques on 20% of California's wine
grape acreage have reduced insecticide and fungicide
applications by 50%, while maintaining yields and increasing
-- Seventy-eight dairy farmers in New York use cultural
management and biological control agents to manage flies,
resulting in a reduction of pesticide use of up to 80%.
-- Insecticide use on Texas cotton dropped to about 2.3
million pounds (nearly an 88% reduction) in less than ten
years following intensive IPM education programs conducted by
the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
-- One hundred and thirty-five banana growers in Hawaii have
eliminated pesticide use against banana skippers by using two
introduced Hymenopterous parasites to control the pest.
-- At least 35% of Nebraska's corn acreage is rotated to
soybeans, reducing the need for insecticides to control corn
rootworms. Use of crop rotation has resulted in a reduction
of over one million lbs. of active ingredient per year, and
an annual savings in farmers' production costs of at least
The survey indicates that the implementation of a variety of
pest management practices, ranging from simple changes in
application methods to crop rotation and monitoring and the
use of biological control agents, have had a profound impact
on farm profitability through reduced pest control costs and
Source: "Pesticide Use Reduction Assessment," Michael D.
Fernandez, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and
Forestry, June 29, 1994.
Contact: Michael D. Fernandez, Staff Member, Senate Committee
on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; phone 202-224-5207;
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