To submit a question to Ask The Farmer’s Daughter, or to see previous answers, click here.
My grandson viewed a video on Earth Day which presented pesticides as very harmful. Do you have or know of any videos to counteract this information? My grandson is in the second grade.
Thanks so much for this question! I know it can be very frustrating for farmers or friends of farmers to send their children to school, only to have them told them bad information about agriculture. Growing up, this was something that I encountered several times. I recently had a farm mom approach me because her daughter was told that conventional farming is bad, and the little girl came home upset that her dad was a bad guy.
It isn’t acceptable and I’m glad you’re talking to your grandson about it!
Thankfully, there are lots of resources available for fostering conversations with young people about agriculture. The USDA has a whole website dedicated to teaching children about farming. There is also the National Ag in the Classroom website, which has tools for teachers (and parents!), as well as a portion of the website just for students. You can also search for specific state Ag in the Classroom organizations that also have similar information. You may even try My American Farm, a web-based program designed by American Farm Bureau.
As for the specific scary stories your grandson was told about pesticides at school, I would recommend starting out by having a positive conversation with him. Tell him that farmers use pesticides on their farm to help grow healthy crops so that he has good food to eat. Explain that farmers are trained and go to school so they know how to apply those pesticides safely. Remind him that the food he’s eating is safe and there is no reason to worry about pesticides.
Then, depending on how he handles the conversation, I would try to show him the License to Farm video, which you can find here. It is an excellent video of farmers discussing that they want to grow safe and healthy food that is environmentally-friendly. I’m not sure if he will fully understand it yet, but it should at least provide a counter to what he was told in school.
If he’s concerned about pesticide residue, try showing him the pesticide residue calculator. It’s a graphic and easy way to see how much of any given produce you would have to eat to actually be harmed by any pesticide residue, even at the highest levels ever detected. He’ll probably grasp the idea that it would not be possible for him to eat 154 apples in one day!
Thanks again for the question and thank you for working to correct the misinformation he was given. Don’t forget to keep having these discussions as he gets older, too!