USDA is still tracking pesticide use.
Who’s kidding who?
In particular Ev Williams and Gabe Kleinman also need to know this because they highlighted it. This is public information and in fact, here is where all of this data is tracked. USDA Agricultural Chemical Use Program “provides complete results for all surveys conducted since 2009 and selected results for surveys conducted 1990 through 2008.”
USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Information. NASS publications cover a wide range of subjects, from…www.nass.usda.gov
Upon using the magic google box about this specific issue, first page results yielded two articles that report the closing of this program and one article that reports it being restarted in 2009. Not tracking pesticide use was repeated three times in Kimbal Musk’s article. Fortunately we don’t live in the dystopian fiction world of 1984, so the repetition won’t make this incorrect assertion any more true. We as communicators need to do our due diligence to make sure the information we are putting out is correct and up to date.
This has also been said of the issue:
The EPA collects pesticide data from a private source. It is proprietary data, and super expensive. The USDA could also buy that data (that is still collected) but funding shortfalls mean they can’t. So, no difference in data being collected before and after 2008, but a change in ERS’s* access to that data.
The cited 2014 USDA report itself confirms this info sharing relationship:
The study analyzes a new pesticide database that was compiled from pesticide use surveys carried out by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Economic Research Service (ERS), supplemented by proprietary data provided by a market research company to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and shared with ERS under an agreement between the two agencies.
*ERS is the USDA Economic Research Service which provides public data on just about anything agriculture related that you can think of.