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What Are Pesticides? Interview with Purdue Professor Fred Whitford

Before we can begin to talk about organic farming in our videos, I figured we needed to learn about what pesticides are and how they're used in conventional farming. This week we traveled to Purdue University's Throg Morton Farm in Indiana, where we got a chance to talk with Professor Fred Whitford, who is an expert in plant pathology.

He brought us to an apple orchard where the university is doing research about conventional and organic farming techniques. It was really helpful to have a clear definition of pesticides, "a molecule or chemical that is used to control a pest, including weeds, insects and diseases". It was also interesting to see the machines pesticides are sprayed with and learn about safety measures workers take when dealing with the chemicals.

Then Professor Whitford took us to the organic side of the orchard, where he showed us some alternative methods of pest control including mouse guards on the tree trunks, weed barriers in the ground and pheromone insect traps in the leaves.

Special thanks to Professor Whitford and Purdue University for taking time out to talk to us!


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