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"Without crop protection chemicals, our production of food would approximately be half of what it is today, and the prices would maybe be 60 percent higher. And so, they contribute an awful lot to our low cost food because in the United States we have the lowest cost food of anywhere in the world. The average American spends about 11 percent of their income on food and 89 percent on all the other things that we enjoy.
     "You take a country like India, for example. They spend over 80 percent of their income on food, and they have 80 percent of their workers working in agriculture. You know, the United States has two percent of their work force working in production agriculture as well as many people supporting that. So it allows us to be much more efficient. It allows us to enjoy the standard of living that we have today…
     "As early as the, as 1200 B.C. in Biblical times the Biblical armies used salt and ash when they conquered other nations to destroy their crops. So, they used basically non-selective herbicides way back then. You know, the Romans used a product called Hellebore for rat and mice control before the time of Christ. You know, 900 A.D. the Chinese used arsenic to control a lot of insects.
     "And then back when you get to the 1900s, DDT was discovered in 1939 and used in World War II for a lot of insect control there, as well, as for years before that product was banned due to its persistence and toxicity. Chlordane came along in the 1940s. Atrazine, which is probably one of the herbicides that changed the way we grow crops, came along in 1958 and is still one of the very most widely used herbicides today.
     "Beacon, we talked about, in 1990 to control shatter cane. And Glyphosate – which a lot of people know as Roundup, Touchdown, a lot of those products – came along in '71 to control everything without any soil residual. And so those are some of the major highlights that have gone on if you want a quick history of the chemical business…
     "And I think the thing to keep in mind is that the dose makes the poison. For example, something like table salt if you sprinkle a little bit on your meat or vegetables, that's fine. No problem. However, if you drink a cupful of salt that might not be so fine. And so that's the key for anything. Moderation is the key, and with pesticides, that certainly applies to that as well – that the dose makes the poison. And a tremendous amount of research has gone into what that dose should be."

Dan Stork – Importance of Pesticides

   

Other Excerpts from Dan Stork’s Interview:

Pulling Weeds by Hand
A World without Insecticides
First Time Driving a Tractor
A "John Deere Family"
Tractor Pulling Contests
Driving a Cultivator