On last Thursday, NPC joined a broad group of stakeholders with a strong interest in continued access to safe, affordable, effective pesticide products on a letter to USDA urging the department to consider the value of pesticides as a tool to combat climate change.
While many conservation practices support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon, or improve resiliency to climate change, the group writes that it is often underdiscussed how most promising conservation practices are highly contingent on the availability of safe, effective pesticides.
They write, “For example, growers who use reduced tillage must continue to contend with weeds; they often need to manage insects that may refuge in cover crops or residue; and they still must terminate cover crops prior to planting a primary crop. While non-chemical methods exist to manage some of these pest pressures or terminate cover crops, these methods are unlikely to be scalable due to significant reductions in crop yields associated with their use compared to conventional production. Offsetting these yield reductions would require significant land conversion to production acres to grow the same amount of food, to say nothing of meeting the expanding food needs of a growing global population. If land entering production to compensate for these yield reductions is climate-critical and environmentally-sensitive – such as rainforest land – the climate consequences could be dire.”
The full letter can be found here.