Each day consumers have questions about how their food is grown and raised – and who better to answer those questions than a farmer or rancher?  Each week we’re highlighting an Anderson Live viewer question from our Facebook along with a farmer/rancher answer. Today, we are exploring:  “What are pesticides? How often and why are they used?”

Kevin Hoyer A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying or controlling any pest, including vectors of human or animal disease, unwanted species of plants or animals causing harm during or otherwise interfering with the production, processing, storage, transport or marketing of food, agricultural commodities, wood and wood products or animal feedstuffs, or substances which may be administered to animals for the control of insects, arachnids or other pests in or on their bodies. The term includes substances intended for use as a plant growth regulator, defoliant, desiccant or agent for thinning fruit or preventing the premature fall of fruit. Also used as substances applied to crops either before or after harvest to protect the commodity from deterioration during storage and transport. Subclasses of pesticides include: herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, pediculicides, and biocides.

In crop farming, we use a pesticide to protect the plant from pests, and stresses that would harm the plant, in reducing its vigor, quality, safety and yield. In animals the same criteria would hold true. We use the pesticide when needed and where needed, and are sure to use the correct product at the correct timing and with the correct dosages to insure that the environment is protected as well, alone with consumer safety in mind as well.

Alan Hutchinson Naturally occurring or man-made compounds that repeal or kill mostly insect pests. At Bald Mountain Garlic and Herb Farm we are "lucky" in that our crops are generally not pest magnets. We do use some biological controls to take care of soil borne pests, this would be beneficial nematodes. We also use BT (bacillus thuringenesis) sometimes, but not preemptively.

Stay tuned for more answers on how food gets from a farm or ranch to your plate. To be part of the conversation, visit: https://www.facebook.com/USFarmersandRanchers.