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Fertilizers & Pesticides

The impact of traditional chemical fertilizers and pesticides on our environment, ecosystem, and human health has negative consequences on the environment. 

Sustainable agriculture

Agricultural systems are using a large number of chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in a race for more production to meet food demands in our growing world population. Sadly, using more chemicals and fertilizers contribute to environmental pollution such as air, water, and soil pollutions.

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Pesticides and contaminated groundwater

Sustainable and sensible agriculture

Did you know that commercial pesticide applicators, farmers, and homeowners apply about 1 billion pounds of pesticides annually to agricultural land, non-crop land, and urban areas throughout the United States? Pesticide use has made the United States the largest producer of food in the world; however, this status is accompanied by concerns about potential adverse effects from pesticide use on the environment and human health.

Stalks of Wheat

According to the USGS, pesticide contamination of groundwater is a subject of national importance because groundwater serves as drinking water for about 50 percent of the nation's population. People living in the agricultural areas where pesticides are most often used, about 95 percent of that population, rely upon groundwater for drinking water. Prior to the mid-1970s, it was thought that soil acted as a protective filter that stopped pesticides from reaching groundwater but studies have now shown that this is not the case. Pesticides can reach water-bearing aquifers below ground from applications onto crop fields, seepage of contaminated surface water, accidental spills and leaks, improper disposal, and even through injection waste material into wells.

Sustainable and sensible agriculture

  • Pesticides are potentially toxic to humans and can have both acute and chronic health effects, depending on the quantity and the ways in which a person is exposed.

  • Some of the older, cheaper pesticides can remain in the soil and water for years. They have been banned in developed countries for agricultural use but are still used in many developing countries.

  • There are more than 1,000 pesticides used around the world to ensure food is not damaged or destroyed by pests. Each pesticide has different properties and toxicological effects (and the toxicological effects of multiple pesticides can be greater than the sum of their parts).


Pesticides Facts

  • Application rate: The more pesticide that is applied, the longer significant concentrations remain.

  • Irrigation Management: Irrigation increases the chance that pesticides will migrate to groundwater and surface water.

  • Irrigating saturated soils or irrigating at a rate that exceeds the infiltration rate of soil promotes runoff that can carry pesticides with it.

  • Irrigation that promotes the frequent downward movement of water beyond the root zone of plants also promotes the leaching of substances including pesticides to groundwater. This is of particular concern in areas where frequent irrigation is necessary because of coarse-textured soils. Proper irrigation management is critical to minimize the risk of pesticides infiltrating groundwater.

Sustainable and sensible agriculture
Smarter Fertilizers 

Organic alternatives are the way to go green. Organic fertilizers better breakdown and digest soil microorganisms which then release nutrients in a form available to plants. Some commonly available fertilizers are known by their roles for providing nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium – Nitrogen (dried blood, blood meal, cottonseed meal, fish emulsion, and seaweed extract; Phosphorus (Bone meal, rock phosphate); Potassium (Greensand sulfate of potash). Be chemical smart as you go green! Read more ....

Organic Compost

Using environmentally friendly fertilizers

is smart, green, and sustainable 

Organic fertilizers

Credit ScienceDirect

Friendly fertilizer facts

  • Environmentally friendly fertilizers are designed to remain on crops longer than chemical fertilizers, which allow for longer periods of absorption.

  • Some of the materials used in environmentally friendly fertilizers can take up the greenhouse gas of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into organic matter.

  • Environmentally friendly fertilizers can help lower emissions of nitrogen oxide which contribute to air pollution

  • Overall, environmentally friendly fertilizers help make the soil healthier and can restore degraded land.

Hands in the Soil

Credit envirobites

List of known organic fertilizers

  • Alfalfa meal

  • Cottonseed meal

  • Corn gluten meal

  • Rock phosphate

  • Chicken or poultry manure

  • Cow & horse manure

  • Earthworm castings

  • Greensand

  • Compost

  • Soybean meal

  • Blood meal; bone & shellfish/shell meal

  • Feather meal

  • Bat guano

  • Fish meal & fish emulsion

  • Shellfish/shell meal

  • Liquid kelp 

  • Seaweed

  • Grass clippings

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