Prefer pesticides to vaccines?

Farm News Review – By Scott Stevenson
Prefer pesticides to vaccines?

Health claims accepted for people who worked with pesticides

Local Journalism Initiave

Competing advertisements over pesticides in the Feb. 9 Terre de Chez Nous speak to a difficult dilemma in farming today and the toll it can have on health.

On page A12, herbicide producer Bayer promotes its selection of weed-killers with a half-page ad featuring a grizzled looking farmer at his desk holding a cup of coffee and reading a tablet. A whimsical excess of corn collectibles decorates the farmer’s office, including an over-sized cob that looks like it grew on steroids. The ad tells such farmers that Bayer’s products can help “optimize corn performance all year long and increase yields at harvest time.” Just visit “” (Clean Corn Fields), and you can learn more. The link takes you to Bayer’s Web site address that in English reads “Crop Science”.

“Clean” may be something you want in your kitchen, but only a fool farmer would use it to describe his or her daily life in the field, as Kristin Kimball describes so beautifully in her book The Dirty Life.

While Bayer may be speaking to some farmers, it must be missing the mark on a growing number of others.

On page A13, across from Bayer’s ad, is the Quebec government’s quarter-page advertisement offering financial assistance to farmers who are using five types of environmentally healthy practices: “crop diversification; off-season soil protection; reduction in the use of herbicides; use of seeds not treated with insecticides; and the promotion of biodiversity.”
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