Both organic farming and regular farming methods use pesticides
Farmers use pesticides sparingly and according to government regulations
Farmers control pests, like insects and weeds, to protect their crops:
- USDA Certification is needed to apply chemicals
- Farmers use products in the smallest amounts possible with targeted application
- Farmers live near their fields and want to protect the environment
Smithshire, ILFull Profile
From an Expert
A lot of the times you'll hear the term "chemical fertilizer," but that's a misnomer because every fertilizer that we're dealing with occurs naturally, in nature. It might have to be processed differently for the forms that we use it in fertilizer but the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are all naturally occurring.
River Forest, ILFull Profile
I'm an active, educated, stay-at-home mom who takes an interest in providing healthy food to my family. I'm a regular volunteer at the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry.
About my family
Our family recently expanded with the addition of another son. We now have two boys, 4-year old Keith, and 8-month old Kyle. My whole family loves to sail, and we enjoy the summer season on the water.
Why I'm touring farms
I'm concerned about the use of chemicals in farming and how they may affect our health. As for animal products, I am concerned about overall treatment of the animals, drugs used and cleanliness. I am not happy with the increasing amount of processed foods available and look for healthier options. I cook at home most nights of the week, and I'm excited to see for myself what happens on Illinois farms.
What I hope to see on the farms
I am most interested in those that raise livestock. I hope to see the way they live, the care they receive and the life cycle on the farm. I am also interested in the science used to combat pests or ailments both with livestock and with crops.
From a Mom
I expected the meeting with the Twomey Company, that mixes chemical fertilizer, to make me nervous about what was going on in the field. It didn't. In fact, it reemphasized the precision and care that is used when growing corn and soybeans in Illinois.
Ammonia is kinda scary because, as a mom, you're thinking about the bleach under your sink and you're thinking "That's ammonia and it will kill me, it has the skull and crossbones!" And you're thinking, "Oh my god you're putting that on food." But, the plant uses it and needs it and you're not eating ammonia then (because the plant uses and metabolizes the ammonia as a form of nitrogen).
I was surprised at how small of an amount (fertilizer chemicals) is being used. In one example given, it was 45 gallons dispersed per acre. After doing all the math it comes out to 0.134 oz per square foot. Literally, it is one tenth of an ounce being distributed via a fine spray. It definitely contradicted my assumption of mass amounts of chemicals being applied.
Oak Park, ILFull Profile
I’m a wife and mother of six kids. Given the size of our family, I rarely go anywhere in Oak Park without encountering a friendly face. Our kids like the performing arts, so we go to their school shows and also enjoy seeing professional productions downtown.
Why I'm touring farms
As a mom, I’m concerned with clean growing and production techniques. From a global perspective, I’m interested in the responsible use of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and the humane treatment of livestock. I’m excited to visit real farms, as the closest I’ve gotten is going to the Illinois State Fair.
From a Mom
In addition to disease resistance, there are real opportunities to create plant traits with drought tolerance, nitrogen-use efficiency, and nutritional improvement. Imagine the effect on the environment of crops that use significantly less water, our most precious natural resource, or that require less nitrogen.