Public views pesticides as ‘bad industrial chemicals’. Here’s how farmers can turn that fear into support for sustainable farming

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The online conversation around pesticides is expected to explode by 212 percent over the next two years, despite the fact that consumers aren’t really sure what pesticides are. New research from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) illustrates the confusion and growing concern around crop protection products and the lesson for agriculture that definitions don’t matter.

At the heart of the issue is consumer concern about food safety, the environment and “big ag” …. Consumers are simply putting pesticides in the bucket of “bad industrial chemicals” – any chemical used on food that should be avoided at all cost.

So, instead of pointing them to a dictionary, those involved in growing food should engage in conversations that authentically and transparently speak to the topics consumers value most.

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Demonstrate how agriculture cares for the environment and is reducing the use of crop protection products. Engage on the topic of food safety and how the industry is continually striving to produce food more responsibly every day. Use analogies they can relate to like the use of bug spray in homes to controls spiders or products used on lawns that control weeds. Farmers do the same thing, but with much more precision.

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