County Extension Aides Farmers, Protects Environment

UF/IFAS Extension offers educational programs to teach clients how to scout for the necessity of a pesticide application and, if needed, to properly select, mix, and apply pesticides. Extension also provides information on pesticide storage facilities. But, what happens when a pesticide can no longer be used because it is discontinued or banned?

When a pesticide is discontinued or banned by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, farmers may opt to store these products until they determine how to dispose of them properly. Long term storage of these pesticides can pose unnecessary risks to employees, surrounding communities, and the environment. Proper disposal can be costly and a regulatory burden for small farmers and other pesticide users.

Extension recognized that this problem could not be solved with education alone.

Starting in 2003, UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County partnered with the Hillsborough County Economic Development Department and Environmental Protection Commission to provide pesticide collection events that promote safe and environmentally sound pesticide disposal.

In 2016, the pesticide collection program properly disposed of more than 11,500 pounds of pesticides. Over 96,000 pounds have been collected and properly disposed of since the start of the program.

The next Hillsborough County Agriculture Pesticide Collection event will be held in early 2018. Check http://hillsborough.ifas.ufl.edu/ for an announcement.

In addition, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Department of Environmental Protection offer a pesticide collection service. Information can be found at – https://floridadep.gov/sites/default/files/CleansweepFlier.pdf.