There’s been lots of discussion, assertion, and misinformation in the Hawai`i GMO battles in recent years about what’s been happening with U.S. agricultural pesticide use.
That's amid critical assertions of "more and more" pesticide use, and hyperbolic claims that tons and tons of pesticides are being dumped on the land. The real story is more nuanced.
- Pesticide use in American agriculture peaked more than 30 years ago, and on average has been dropping since.
- Agriculture is using a lot more weed killer than it used to, and far less insecticide.
- It is using chemicals that are far safer and yet more effective than before.
- Corn farming gets hit with being a big pesticide user, but that is partly because there are a lot of acres in corn. The crop uses pesticides more sparingly than cotton, fruit and vegetable farming.
“Corn producers apply more pounds of pesticide than any other crop farmers, but use pesticides much less intensively than cotton, fruit, and vegetable producers. For example, potato producers use about 50 pounds per planted acre, versus 2.4 pounds per corn acre,” the report says (Page 62.)