When did food get so complicated?

Buzzwords like local, sustainable and responsibly raised are part of everyday conversations and greet us at the meat counter, the milk cooler, the cereal aisles and farmers markets.

But what do they really mean?

We’re Illinois farmers, and we – along with other experts – want to share our perspectives and provide you with accurate information to make informed choices.

You’ll find we don’t all farm alike or have the same answers to every question. What we do have is a commitment to providing safe, healthy food for every table. Yours and ours included.


Different farmers’ perspectives. Different farming practices. And what they mean to you.

In a perfect world, no farmer would use any chemicals. But because there are insects, weeds and diseases, our crops need protection. So, farmers use different methods to combat those pests, and there are tradeoffs with each choice.

"So, as I'm raising crops, my family’s health is the standard I weigh everything against."

Andrew Bowman

I have a need for chemicals on my farm, here’s how I use them 
Genevieve O'Keefe

"When I had a chance to talk to farmers about chemicals - I came away with a better understanding."

Genevieve O'Keefe

I’m a Chicago mom and I want to know how farmers are using chemicals

Paul Taylor

"One of the best aspects of farming is taking both full responsibility and full pride in whatever happens out in my fields."

Paul Taylor

When needed I protect my vegetables, corn and soybeans with chemicals

Ruth Zeldenrust

"There are no mechanical harvesters on our farm, only people who handpick our produce daily."

Ruth Zeldenrust

Find out why I prefer to grow veggies without chemicals

Protecting Our Food

Food safety starts on the farm

We all want food that looks like this:

Not this:

Bugs and weeds affect our food by taking away farmer’s productivity.

Farm chemical use means:

  • More affordable food
  • Less waste from diseased or damaged foods
  • A more consistent food supply
  • Less impact on the environment by growing more on available farmland


Every chemical is tested and re-tested for food safety, environmental impact, and farmer safety:

  • Hundreds of scientific studies are evaluated before EPA approves a product to use


Farm chemicals today are more effective:

  • Chemicals are diluted - up to 95% of what farmers spray is water
  • Advanced chemistry means chemicals break down once applied - fields can be walked in as little as 24 hours


Multiple checkpoints ensure proper chemical use:

  • Farmers must be licensed to buy and apply chemicals
  • States inspect farmer’s compliance
  • Food companies do additional tests


Just like washing your hands is a healthy habit, so is washing your produce:

  • FDA recommends washing produce under running water and drying with a clean cloth or paper towel

Favorite Blog Posts

Let's Talk About Chemicals

Let's Talk About Chemicals

When I use agricultural chemicals, I’m using products that are approved by...

Organic vs. Traditional Produce: What I Learned

Organic vs. Traditional Produce: What I Learned

As I continue on my personal journey to provide my family with...

Is conventional food "drenched in chemicals"?

Is conventional food "drenched in chemicals"?

You know how if you swallow an entire bottle of aspirin you...