Mississippi export cotton

From food production to human health concerns, pesticides are an important regulation tool in Alabama agriculture. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ (ADAI) Pesticide Management division works quietly, but efficiently, to protect agriculture crops, farm worker safety, consumers and the environment with the use of pesticides.

Pesticides themselves are chemical substances that are used to prevent, destroy or mitigate any type of pests, usually on plants or crops. Tony Cofer, program director of the ADAI Plant Protection and Pesticide Management Division explains how the division helps to protect some of Alabama’s most important crops.

“The role of Pesticide Management is to regulate the sale and use of pesticides. We do this by certifying applicators and licensing application businesses,” he says. “We also ensure that pesticides are used safely and according to all state and federal requirements.”

In the encompassing umbrella of plant protection, pesticides are a critical means to helping prevent and stop invasive species. But pesticides aren’t important just for farmers. Cofer says the public is touched by the efforts of the Pesticide Management division every day, without even realizing it.

“Our department registers every pesticide product for sale in the state,” he says. “Those 14,000 products range from the bleach people use to disinfect their laundry to the weed killer used on their lawns to cotton defoliate used to aid in the harvest of one of Alabama’s largest crops.”

Cofer adds that it’s important for consumers to comply with label directions and wear appropriate clothing when using a form of pesticide, as the regulations put in place for the application of pesticides are to protect the users themselves.

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