> Respone to Man from Monsanto --
> You urge people on SANET to stick to fact, not fiction. Interesting
> comment coming from Monsanto.
Charles, you won't like to hear this, but most of us farmers you people
are trying to influence believe you cook your statistics to suit your own
ends. As a farmer, frankly, I suspect both you and Monsanto slant facts
to suit your interpretation, not for my own benefit as a farmer. This is
a case of a pox on both your houses.
> You say farmers are using less pesticides. This is true measured
> by volume, but not true measured by acres treated. As anyone in the
> herbicide market knows, the newer products are more weed and soil and
> timing specific, and more actives
> have to be applied, and there are clearly more acre treatments. The real
> issue is are farmers less dependent on chemicals -- some are, most
> are not. I agree the average toxicity per acre treatment has gone
> down somewhat from 10 years ago, but remains high based on any realistic,
> science based comparison to other public health risks. Of course, all
> risk assessment science may be wrong and all public policy re low level
> exposures to chronic toxicants.
Farmers around here seem to me (unscientific observation) to be using
less pesticide. The new pesticides are different. They seem to be more
targeted to specific weeds and indeed they may work very well or not so
well depeinding on conditions, as you suggest.
What farmers feel around here is we are caught in the vice between the
erosion control people on one hand, who insist we practice tillage
practices that strongly discourage cultivation or ignore the tillage
practeices we are signed up and agree to impelement, and the chemical
avoidance people who say we don't care if you can cultivate mechanically
or not, but you shouldnt' use chemicals. The farmer absolutely feels in
a no win situation, caught between SCS and EPA and all their
conservationist friends. I'm telling you, disregard what SCS is saying -
there are farmers getting out of the farm program because we're sick of
always being the bad guy and we are going to farm anyway we believe is
> The EWG report carried out the most extensive and
> exposure assessment for pesticides in surface water/drinking water. The
> Monsanto herbicide Lasso (alachlor) is basically the second worst in terms of risk
> behind atrazine. In time, Monsanto's new product, acetachlor, will
> no doubt gain market (and risk) share, so exposure to both alachlor and meth-
> ochlor will come down a little.
But you don't tell us if any of them are bad, nor do you use standards
that we would all agree with. The discussion is truning into an argument
like religion. Everyone is losing credibility and simply reiterating
their positon, not engaging in meaningful argument.
> The challenge in controlling weeds without excessive costs, risks,
> or burden on the environment is to a dynamic one. Ten years from
> now there will be a very different mix of practices/products, with non-chemical app
> approaches no doubt carrying a heavier share of the burden. There will
> remain a place for Monsanto products, but a different place. Getting from
> here to there is not going to be pretty.
Non-chemcial approaches will carry a heavier part of the burden if the
government will let us farm without the RUSLE guidelines so strictly applied.
How many of the people critizing the farmers farm? Who has to live with
the results of the decisions we make? I'd like to see more proponents of
this type of farming get in the dirt with me. I'm not an organic guy,
but I have a lot of respect for those who apply their sermons, instead
of telling me from the pulpit what they're doing wrong.
You guys could do a lot better if you'd work on transistion and
alternative programs instead of simply repeating time and again that
we're out here poisoning the earth.
I susbscribe to many organice and sustainable ag publications, and what
you find are many practices are very market or site specific. Even guys
like Dick Thompson, for whom I have great respect, uses ridge-till, which
I dont'; believe would work for me. Some of the other guys have a family
situation or market opportunity which is a lot different than others of
us have. It's great for Joel Salatin to make #25,000 a year growing 4
cropsa ofd organic chickens, but I don't live near the Washington suburbs
with their market.
So, my point is we need a lot more positive discussion and workable
alternatives that are acceptable from a risk point of veiw and more of us
would look at them. The farmer must focus on the economic side.
Management Intensive Grazing is going to do a lot of good for sustainable
ag, but do any of you push it? No. The guys that push it, and it is
starting to get very popular, are showing how it makes the farmer money
AND takes care of the land.