Millions of pounds of agricultural chemicals (agchems) are stored, moved, and safely used in Minnesota without incident. Pesticides and fertilizers are of great benefit to Minnesota but only when they are handled safely and do not adversely affect the environment.
What is the environment? The environment comprises everything that is around us. It includes not only the natural elements that the word "environment" most often brings to mind but also people, buildings and homes. The environment is air, water, plants, animals, houses, restaurants, office buildings, and factories and all they contain. Anyone that uses an agricultural chemical-indoors or outdoors, in the city or the farm - must consider how the storage, transportation, and application may affect the environment.
To promote the safe use of agricultural chemicals in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has many programs. Below is a partial list.
- Pesticide Misuse. Program to investigate the use of pesticides that may be involved in human or animal injury, food or feed contamination, and crop or ornamental plant damage.
- Well Head Protection Program. Local and state government partnerships identifying areas around well heads that activities upon which may affect drinking water supplies.
- Pesticide Applicator Certification. Training and certification program for those that apply "restricted" pesticides that are deemed harmful to public health or the environment.
- Anhydrous Ammonia Inspection Program: A comprehensive inspection program of anhydrous ammonia storage tanks and plumbing, nurse tanks and equipment to insure the safe use of anhydrous ammonia.
- Water Quality Monitoring Program. Collecting subsurface and surface water samples to monitor how cropping practices might affect water resources.
- BMPs: Program promoting voluntary best management practices for the protection of water quality.
- Waste Pesticide Collections. Directions for proper disposal of unwanted, unusable or banned pesticides can be obtained from your county solid waste office or household hazardous waste facility.
- Incident Response: Quick and comprehensive response to new and old agricultural chemical spills.