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2021 Virtual Farm Tour Video Day 3: Agritourism, pesticide research and more!

2021 Virtual Farm Tour Video: Day 3

2021 Virtual Farm Tour Day 3: Pappy’s Patch

What is agritourism?

As many of us know, tourism is Florida’s number one industry! Agriculture is our number 2 industry in the state. Agritourism may sound like a pretty big word. It is actually pretty simple. It is the combination of agriculture and tourism into one business model. There are many different types of agritourism operations out there. U-Picks, teaching farms, corn mazes, horseback riding ranches, and farm camping sites are just a few examples of the diverse agritourism operations in Florida. 

Thanks to some amazing technology in the last century, we can now grow food more efficiently than ever before! However, this means that the average person is further removed from food production and farming. Unfortunately, this can lead to some misconceptions about what goes on at farms. For the consumer, an agritourism operation is a great place to learn about where their food comes from. In many cases, it is also a wonderful way to enjoy the fresh air! For the farmers, agritourism can increase the value of their farm. These agritourism ventures can promote a farmer’s produce, add value to their product, and generate additional income.

What are pesticides?

Pesticides are a type of chemical control. In integrated pest management (IPM), chemical control is a small but important part of pest management. A pesticide is any product used to kill, repel, or control a pest organism. Moreover, a pest is any organism that we deem harmful or a nuisance in an area. Something may be a pest in one scenario and not in another. For example, a dandelion is a pest in your garden, but a pleasant wildflower in a natural area.

Pesticides include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, and many others. As an example, insecticides control insects specifically. Pesticide is a broader term that encompasses many of the different products used in pest control. Every pesticide comes as a formulation, basically a mixture. It contains an active ingredient as well as some inert ingredients. The active ingredient is the thing that actually kills, repels or controls pests. For an herbicide, the active ingredient is the ingredient in the formulation that kills weeds. One active ingredient may be in many different pesticide products and sold under different names.

How are pesticides regulated?

Every pesticide has a pesticide label. The label is the law. By using a pesticide, you agree to follow all of the information provided in the label. It includes all of the important information on use, safety, disposal and more. So, why do we care so much about the label? Well, a lot of time, money and research goes in to creating that pesticide label. On average, it takes 6-9 year and millions of dollars to register a pesticide.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates registration, sale, transportation, and use of pesticides. When a company wants to sell a new pesticide, it is a big process. The company must bring a pesticide label and a lot of scientific research to the EPA. This includes data on human health and environmental concerns of the pesticide. With this information, the EPA determines if the pesticide can be used. This whole process is what they call pesticide registration. Once registered, the product can be sold on the market for use. However, this doesn’t mean that the product will be on the market forever. Over time, pesticides are reevaluated based on current health and safety standards. During reevaluation, the EPA will decide to reregister or discontinue the pesticide.

In addition, some pesticides are deems more hazardous due to health or environmental concerns. As a result, not everyone can use these pesticides. They are restricted use pesticides. To safely use them, it requires extensive knowledge and training, therefore a license is required. In Florida, a farmer can demonstrate this knowledge by passing a licensing exam. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) regulates licensure and other pesticide related topics in Florida.

2021 Virtual Farm Tour and Video Scavenger Hunt

Hidden in each of our 2021 Virtual Farm Tour videos is a keyword. If you collect at least 4 out of the 6 keywords, you could have a chance to win some cool stuff! After watching the videos and collecting the keywords, fill out this quick survey. We have 3 baskets full of local Florida goodies, 10 compost bins and 10 at-home hydroponics kits to give away to randomly selected survey participants. For more information and links to all six 2021 Virtual Farm Tour videos, visit this 2021 Virtual Farm Tour blog.

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