Socioeconomic Impacts and Social Implications of Reducing Pesticide and Agricultural Chemical Use in the United States

  • Frederick H. Buttel


The struggle over agricultural pesticides, which will soon enter its fourth decade, has long involved conflicting interests, opposing ideologies, and contradictory technical and social science data. This paper will focus on one dimension of these conflicts: debate over the prospective socioeconomic impacts of substantial reductions in the use of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals. Research on this topic is obviously central to pesticide politics and policy, since both sides of the struggle ultimately base their positions on claims that chemicals are or are not integral to the social and economic well-being of agriculturalists and of society as a whole.


Agricultural Policy Agricultural Chemical Agricultural Commodity Conservation Reserve Program Pesticide Usage 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams, W.M. 1990. Green Development. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Azzam, A., G.A. Helmers, and M.F. Spilker. 1990. “U.S. agriculture under fertilizer and chemical restrictions, part 2.” Report No. 163, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.Google Scholar
  3. Bosso, C.J. 1987. Pesticides and Politics. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  4. Busch, L., W.B. Lacy, J. Burkhardt, and L.R. Lacy. 1991. Plants, Power, and Profit. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Buttel, F.H. 1990. “Social relations and the growth of modern agriculture.” Pp. 113–146 in C.R. Carroll et al. (eds.), Agroecology. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  6. Buttel, F.H., and G.W. Gillespie Jr. 1988. “Preferences for crop production practices among conventional and alternative agriculturalists.” American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 3 (Winter): 11–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buttel, F.H., G.W. Gillespie Jr., and A. Power. 1990. “Sociological aspects of low-input agriculture in the United States: A New York case study.” Pp. 515–532 in C.A. Edwards et al. (eds.), Sustainable Agricultural Systems. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society.Google Scholar
  8. Cochrane, W.W. 1979. The Development of American Agriculture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  9. Conservation Foundation. 1987. State of the Environment. Washington, DC: Conservation Foundation.Google Scholar
  10. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). 1990a. Alternative Agriculture: Scientists’ Review. Ames, IA: Council for Agricultural Science and Technology.Google Scholar
  11. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). 1990b. Pesticides and Safety of Fruits and Vegetables. Ames, I A: Council for Agricultural Science and Technology.Google Scholar
  12. Dubgaard, A. 1989. “The need for a common environmental policy for EC agriculture.” Pp. 35–48 in A. Dubgaard and A.H. Nielsen (eds.), Economic Aspects of Environmental Regulations in Agriculture. Kiel (Germany): Wissenschafts-verlag Vauk Kiel KG.Google Scholar
  13. Dubgaard, A. 1991. “Pesticide regulation in Denmark.” In N. Hanley (ed.), Farming and the Countryside. Oxon, U.K.: C.A.B. International.Google Scholar
  14. The Economist. 1990. “Good times are back on the farm, for a bit.” The Economist (10 March):25–26.Google Scholar
  15. Edwards, C.A. et al. (eds.). 1990. Sustainable Agricultural Systems. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society.Google Scholar
  16. Faeth, P., R. Repetto, K. Kroll, Q. Dai, and G. Helmers. 1991. Paying the Farm Bill: U.S. Agricultural Policy and the Transition to Sustainable Agriculture. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.Google Scholar
  17. Gianessi, L.P., and Puffer, C.A. 1991. “Inadequacy of scientific and economic data in pesticide benefits analyses.” Resources No. 104:14–17.Google Scholar
  18. Gillespie, G.W. Jr., and F.H. Buttel. 1989. “Understanding farm operator opposition to regulation of agricultural chemicals and pharmaceuticals: the role of social class, objective interests, and ideology.” American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 4:12–21.Google Scholar
  19. Goodman, D., B. Sorj, and J. Wilkinson. 1987. From Farming to Biotechnology. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. Knutson, R.D., C.R. Taylor, J.B. Penson, and E.G. Smith. 1990. Economic Impacts of Reduced Chemical Use. College Station, TX: Knutson & Associates.Google Scholar
  21. Lee, L.R. 1990. “Relationships among groundwater quality, agricultural production, and consumer food prices.” Manuscript, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Connecticut.Google Scholar
  22. National Research Council (NRC). 1989. Alternative Agriculture. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  23. Oehlaf, R. 1978. Organic Farming. Montclair, NJ: Allanheld, Osmun.Google Scholar
  24. Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). 1990. Beneath the Bottom Line. Washington, DC: OTA.Google Scholar
  25. Olsen, K.D. 1990. “Modeling farm-level interactions between policy and a farmer’s choice of weed control method.” Manuscript, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  26. Olsen, K.D., J. Langley, and E.O. Heady. 1982. “Widespread adoption of organic farming practices: estimated impacts on U.S. agriculture.” Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (January–February):41–45.Google Scholar
  27. Redclift, M. 1987. Sustainable Development. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  28. Reichelderfer, K.H. 1990. “Environmental protection and agricultural support: are trade-offs necessary?” Pp. 201–230 in K. Allen (ed.), Agricultural Policies in a New Decade. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.Google Scholar
  29. Reichelderfer, K.H. 1991. “The expanding role of environmental interests in agricultural policy.” Resources No. 102:4–7.Google Scholar
  30. Reichelderfer, K.H. and M.K. Hinkle. 1989. “The evolution of pesticide policy: environmental interests and agriculture.” Pp. 147–173 in C.S. Kramer (ed.), The Political Economy of U.S. Agriculture. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.Google Scholar
  31. Rossiter, M.W. 1975. The Emergence of Agricultural Science. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Runge, C.F., and R.M. Nolan. 1990. “Trade in disservices: environmental regulation and agricultural trade.” Food Policy (February):3–7.Google Scholar
  33. Tweeten, L.R., and G.A. Helmers. 1990. “Comment on Alternative Agriculture Systems.” Pp. 134–138 in Alternative Agriculture: Scientists’ Review. Ames, IA: Council for Agricultural Science and Technology.Google Scholar
  34. Zilberman, D., A. Schmitz, G. Casterline, E. Lichtenberg, and J.B. Siebert. 1991. “The economics of pesticide use and regulation.” Science 253:518–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Routledge, Chapman & Hall, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick H. Buttel
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology and Society ProgramCornell UniversityIthaca

Personalised recommendations