Tree leaves in Vermont

Disease that affects beech trees has arrived in Vermont

Beech leaf disease, which was confirmed earlier this month in Vernon and more recently in Dummerston, is caused by invasive nematodes that spread in the tree’s leaves.

USDA report highlights results of pesticide residue tests in food

The USDA has published the 2022 Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary, which shows that over 99% of the samples tested had pesticide residues below benchmark levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to a news release.

The tests were conducted on 10,665 samples from 23 commodities including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, nuts and grains, the release said. The Pesticide Data Program (PDP) is a national pesticide residue monitoring program that tests a variety of domestic and imported foods, with a focus on foods that are consumed by infants and children.

EPA Registers Novel Pesticide Technology for Potato Crops

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered biopesticide products containing the new active ingredient Ledprona for three years, a timeframe that is consistent with EPA’s approach to other novel biopesticide products.

Ledprona is a new type of pesticide that relies on a natural mechanism--called RNA interference (RNAi)--used by plants and animals to protect against disease. EPA supports advancements in novel pesticide technology because this technology replaces more toxic chemical-based pesticides, provide an additional tool for farmers to address challenges of climate change, and aids in resistance management.

Viewpoint: GM crops already solving food insecurity — 37% less pesticides, 22% higher yields, and 68% greater earnings for farmers

Food insecurity and undernourishment are currently among the most serious anxieties for human health. As the world’s population goes on to increase, there is an increase in demand for food. Since the arable land is not rising, we need to find an alternative solution for food security to meet the demand of growing population which would reach about 9.9 billion by 2050. Moreover, there is the crucial need to curb crop loss due to pests that alone accounts for approximately 20–40 per cent of the total crop loss throughout the world. Conventional plant breeding can no longer be a solution to the ever-rising global food requirement.

Some benefits of genetic engineering in agriculture are increased crop yields, reduced costs for food or drug production, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition and food quality, resistance to pests and disease.

Vermont sunflower

Pesticides and Food: It’s not a black or white issue — Has pesticide use decreased since the introduction of GMO crops?

Many consumers believe organic foods are not grown using pesticides, thus healthier for humans and for the environment. This leads many to buy organic produce instead more affordable conventional produce. There are movements to ban synthetic pesticides.

However, some organic foods are also grown using pesticides. The main difference is that the pesticides used to grow organic food are derived from natural sources rather than produced synthetically. Some organic pesticides are actually more toxic than their synthetic counterparts, as synthetic pesticide development is not limited to the requirements of sticking to solely natural sources. Nevertheless, the bulk of organic-approved pesticides are used by conventional farmers, mostly sulfur compounds used to control fungus