The Truth about Chemicals in Farming
Spring is here and therefore it is time for me to get on my annual soap box. And, like soap, my rant is about chemicals. Here in farm country, the use of chemicals is rampant. It is a way of life for most of those around me – and not only the local farmers here in Saint Anne, but the majority of farmers around the country who are thoroughly entrenched in chemical agriculture. There are so many chemicals in use that it is mind boggling. It is a BIG business. It begins with fertilizer and is followed with herbicides and insecticides – so many of which are lethal.
Anhydrous ammonia is one of the main chemicals used in corn fields due to the fact that it converts to nitrogen when it comes in contact with water. It is also used to kill a cover crop. According to MSN News (http://news.msn.com/science-technology/factbox-anhydrous-ammonias-dangers-and-use) the United States used 15 million tons of anhydrous in 2011. If you think about the environmental impact of pouring that much ammonia, no matter what form, on the earth it makes me sick. If I drive down the road and a tractor is out spraying, I can smell ammonia. I roll up all the windows and try to scoot past as quickly as possible.
But, then there is the Round Up and all the associated GMO’s that like to grow in soil poisoned with Round Up, a glyphosate. According to Reuters, 185 million pounds ( ! ) of Round Up were used in the United States in 2007. This product is very poisonous and can cause numerous serious health issues and is being linked to Parkinson’s disease along with a multitude of other illnesses. It is felt that glyphosate causes cellular inflammation which causes a breakdown in numerous areas of the body, leading to very serious disease states (http://www.nst.com.my/latest/heavy-use-of-herbicide-roundup-linked-to-health-dangers-u-s-study-1.264734). Monsanto, the largest producer of Round Up, denies that their chemical could cause any problems, and is safe for not only the environment, but also humans. When studies reveal traces of Round Up on our produce, I really worry about the impact for all those people who eat conventionally produced crops.
Monsanto is the enemy in my opinion. They are currently working on a new herbicide that contains some of the ingredients used in Agent Orange and our government is allowing them to proceed with further testing and will most likely allow them to produce another monster chemical to kill the good innocent people of the United States. After Vietnam, that such a thing could even be considered!
And, then there are the insecticides. These products commonly in use are so dangerous, so toxic, so hazardous that the people using them may have to wear hazmat suits when handling them. Now, how about eating food that has been sprayed with something that toxic? I call these the big guns. They cause insects to die through nervous system collapse, through paralysis, through respiratory failure, etc. And, farmers want to spray these why? And, people eat these foods. Alas!
We can continue to protest against the use of chemicals and the companies that produce them. We can continue to let our state and national leaders know we are against this massive pollution of the earth. But, we can also utilize organic produce as much as possible. This organic farmer is very thankful for all of the loyal support I receive from those of you who support me and my fellow organic farmers.