Crop Protection & Sustainability
As production demands escalate to meet the needs of a growing population for renewable fuel, fiber and food, it is more important than ever that food and fiber remain affordable to provide sustainable benefit. Without the benefits of many of the crop protection products produced, manufactured and distributed by CropLife America members, crop production in the United States and abroad would experience significant annual losses due to the detrimental effects of weeds, pests and diseases.
Thanks to modern agriculture, farmers have doubled the production of world food calories since 1960, tripled the output of foods such as cooking oils and meats, and increased per-capita food supplies in the developing world by 25 percent, while maintaining a stable area of cultivated land since 1950 – despite the doubling of the global population during this time
Ultimately, modern agriculture is sustainable agriculture. Although the world population has doubled in the last 40 years, the area of land devoted to food production has remained virtually constant, largely due to the input of crop protection products and use of other modern farming practices. Advancements in the development of new products and practices have enabled modern farmers to produce twice as much food compared to just two decades ago, using less water, land and energy in the process.
Crop protection products specifically contribute to sustainability and conservation in a number of ways. Products such as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides:
- Help farmers increase yields without increasing land use;
- Help conserve natural lands by enabling the maximization of existing farm space, leaving natural lands free from farm use;
- Preserve water quality and aquatic habitats by reducing soil erosion;
- Protect native plants and animals from invasive species;
- Are part of Integrated Pest Management practices (IPM), which allow farmers to reduce energy use and environmental risk while maintaining quality output and helping improve water, air and soil quality.
Scientists from a diverse range of fields have also contributed to new technological advancements in farming, coming from areas such as biology, chemical, ecology and entomology, and sectors including government and academia. New technologies and practices, such as the development of drought- and disease-resistant seeds, biotechnology, drip-irrigation techniques and conservation tillage systems also all help preserve precious land and water, while allowing farmers to produce the amount of food necessary for the growing population.