“What you always do before you make a decision is consult. The best public policy is made when you are listening to people who are going to be impacted. Then, once a policy is determined, you call on them to help you sell it.”
— Elizabeth Dole

“Toxic chemicals have no business being in our food, our drinking water, or poisoning the farmworkers who put that food on our tables each day." Daniel Savery, (EarthJustice Senior Legislative Representative) September 2023

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Keeping the Environment Clean by Regulating Pesticide Use:
How small farms and industrial agriculture can protect the environment by transitioning away from toxic chemical use

Date of Event: Tuesday, July 30th 2024

Time of Event: 9:30 AM — 1:00 PM PST

Place of Event: Webinar

Key Speakers

Julie Henderson, Director, California Department of Pesticide Regulation
Jim Hines, Vice-Chair of Executive Committee Santa Barbara/Ventura, The Sierra Club
Ryan Adams, Program Manager, Center for Integrated Pest Management, North Carolina State University
Melissa Cregan, Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights & Measures for the County of Fresno Department of Agriculture

Overview

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) illustrates the two discussions that pesticide use raises. “Pesticides - including herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides – have contributed to substantial increases in crop yields over the past five decades. Properly applied, pesticides contribute to higher yields and improved product quality by controlling weeds, etc. However, because pesticides may possess toxic properties, their use often prompts concern about human health and environmental consequences.” (United States Department of Agriculture) Let’s take a look at what the statistics show – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that in 2007, the US pesticides sales were about $12.5 billion at the user level, making up 32% of the $40 billion global market for that year. Measuring this more specifically, the US accounted for 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides in 2007, or 22% of the world total. (Farm Progress) Additionally, 80% of all pesticide used in the nation was for agricultural purposes. At risk of this conventional use of pesticides are the surface water areas where these pesticides end up in. The National Water Quality Program states that “pesticide concentrations in streams vary widely across the United States and ae influenced by many factors, such as the amount and timing of pesticide applications and the soils, climate, and hydrology where they are applied.” (United States Geological Services)

The United States Department of Agriculture announced in 2022 that it was releasing a “$300 million Organic Transition Initiative that will support a significant expansion of organic in the United States, with a wide range of environmental, health, and economic benefits.” (Allison Johnson, NRDC) The USDA continues to detail why it finds the use of the dominant use pesticides to be consequential, stating that “the widespread use of dangerous pesticides has been linked to numerous threats to human and ecosystem health, from increasing cancer risks and interfering with brain development to the collapse of pollinator populations. These chemicals disproportionately harm farmworker communities, which are majority Latino and immigrant, increasing toxic exposures in their workplaces, homes, and water, in addition to the pesticide residues on food that affect most consumers, especially children and pregnant people.” (Allison Johnson, NRDC; USDA) The National Geographic has stated that an alternative to pesticides for small farms and industrial agriculture is using organic methods and herbicides. The USDA Secretary Vilsack said that “a transition away from harmful, extractive practices, toward a diversified organic agriculture that promotes health and prosperity” is the best transformation that we should invest in. National Geographic has shown data that “confirms that organic operations are more resilient in the face of extreme weather, extreme increases in fossil fuel-based input costs, and extreme consolidation that make it hard for many farms and ranches to survive.” (National Geographic)

The Rodale Institute conducted a study of over 40 years that transitioned crops from pesticide use to organic, and the results showed that “organic yields are competitive with conventionally managed land, and up to 40% higher in drought years. The organic farms fare better financially, while also avoiding pollution from toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizer run-off.” (The Rodale Institute) While these farming tactics seem fairly easy to incorporate, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) found a gap keeping organic farming from being more used, namely the lack of adequate technical assistance, more specifically for beginners in farming and minority groups. The government has already set actions in motion to regulate pesticide use. The Unites States Environmental Protection Agency has stated that the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires them to set “pesticide tolerances for all pesticides used in or on food or in a manner that will result in a residue in or on food or animal feed. A tolerance is the maximum permissible level for pesticide residues allowed in or on human food and animal feed.” (USEPA) Even with such regulations, the United States continues to use the pesticide glyphosate, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported in 2015 is a human carcinogen and poses a severe risk to not only the environment, but people and their wellbeing. 

What steps does the government or local states need to take to better protect the environment and humans from the negative side effects of using pesticides in small farms and industrial agriculture? This symposium seeks to address the use of pesticides and its links to environmental damage and human wellbeing. This event furthermore will analyze the role of environmental protection strategies within the agriculture industry and ways to keep our air and soil cleaner.

Program

  • Review recent government strategies affecting the use of pesticides and permissible chemicals, and discuss their potential impact on environment and human health.
  • Examine existing legislation for small farm pesticide use and discuss opportunities for local and state-level legislative reform.
  • Evaluate the impact that not regulating pesticide use would have on communities and protecting the environmental biodiversity.
  • Propose methods of developing a more sustainable agriculture sector, one that is less dependent on pesticides and transitioning into organic farming practices.
  • Consider the economic impact of transitioning from conventional, pesticide farming techniques to an organic agricultural sector.
  • Learn about the barriers that communities face when it comes to leaving behind pesticide use and adopting new technologies.
  • Assess the challenges that policymakers face when it comes to long-term use of pesticides, and discuss how they might be overcome.

Who Should Attend?

  • Local Authorities
  • Local Planning Authorities
  • Small Farm Farmers
  • Agricultural Leaders and Farmers
  • Biodiversity Leads
  • Biodiversity Professionals
  • Local Area Trailblazers
  • Regional Development and Natural Environment Specialists
  • Local Authority Green City Teams
  • Relevant Central Government Departments
  • Executive Agencies
  • Regional Government Offices
  • Local City Halls
  • Sustainable Development Stakeholders
  • Directors and Heads of Parks and Public Spaces
  • Environmental Services and Policy Professionals
  • Environmental Services Sustainability Professionals
  • Environmental Services Urban Design Professionals
  • Environmental Planning and Design Officers
  • Conservation Professionals
  • Environmental Campaigns Professionals
  • Environmental Enforcement Professionals
  • Housing Authorities and Professionals
  • Farmers and Fair-trade Stakeholders
  • Farming Organizations
  • Rural Organizations
  • Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Professionals
  • Agricultural Research Professionals
  • Horticultural Managers
  • Energy Efficiency Professionals
  • Regeneration Professionals
  • Pollution Professionals
  • Private Sector Environmental Organizations
  • Business Development Professionals
  • Green Retail Organizations
  • Green Industry Professionals
  • Third Sector Environmental Organisations (including Volunteering Groups)
  • Academics, Scientists and Researchers

 

Sponsorship and Exhibition Opportunities

If you’re interested in promoting your company, products and/or services at our events, please click here to enter your details and we will contact you directly. Alternatively, please call
+1 (310) 385 8750 for more information.

How to Book

+1 (310) 385 8750
bookings.at.publicpolicyexchange.com