Where Balling butts heads with PCAs and commercial pest management is in his risk assessment approach to the use of pesticides. He does not propose banning products, but “not all pesticides are created equal from an environmental perspective.

“If you are spraying Bts verses pyrethroids versus organophosphates (Ops), you are looking at different impacts on the environment.”

There should be metrics associated with that.

Balling acknowledges that PCAs, growers and others directly involved in farming say if the EPA signs off on it, it does not matter what is used to control pests.

“Ops still have value in an IPM system,” Balling said, adding that does not mean there cannot be risk assessment metrics on pesticides used in certain situations.

Balling said there is a much safer pesticide use pattern today with pheromones and other toxic compounds than there was 20 years ago.

He is not the first person to venture into the CAPCA domain singing the sustainability hymn that now pervades retail and wholesale food distribution.

He won’t be the last either, as the issue continues to grow faster than Iowa corn in the summer.

hcline@farmpress.com