A MISSISSIPPI program to help farmers dispose of agricultural pesticides has surpassed a milestone in collecting over 1 million pounds of leftover products, according to Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell.

“The waste pesticide disposal program benefits farmers by providing them an inexpensive way to do away with farm chemicals. Mississippi farmers are able to maintain conservation on Mississippi lands,” Spell said.

Pesticide storage can lead to water quality, health, and environmental problems if containers deteriorate or storage is inadequate. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, in a joint effort with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, secured funding from federal grants obtained through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to provide a waste pesticide disposal program. Without such a program, farmers would have difficulty finding disposal that is cost-efficient and safe.

The 1.13 million pounds includes 26,800 pounds collected at the most recent event in Batesville, Miss., on March 22. It also represents 50 disposal events and the 1,100 farmers who have participated since the program began in 1994.

“The program has delivered a direct savings to farmers and applicators of more than $1.26 million in disposal costs,” said Jimmy Bonner, associate Extension professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Mississippi State University. “Individually, farmers just do not have the financial resources to defray the cost of disposal.”