This research delves primarily into the technical relationships between the cultural practices used to produce fresh tomatoes and strawberries in Florida and the occurrence or lack of pesticide residues in these commodities. Data on the levels of 19 different pesticide residues found in Florida tomatoes and strawberries are matched to firm and decision maker attributes as well as the cultural and handling practices used in their production. Descriptive statistics for these residues and the socio-demographic characteristics of the growers, packers, and distributors sampled by this study are presented. Three different regression models are developed and operationalized for each commodity at the producer stage. The first model relates the levels of different aggregate pesticide residues to socio-demographic attributes of pest control decision makers and their firms. The second explores the relationships between a wide array of general production practices and various aggregate residues. The third model examines the relationship between levels of specific pesticide residues and the application of these particular pesticides during production. Model performance and individual factor results vary considerably between commodities and types of residues. Altogether, over fifty empirical relationships are tested. Among those found to be influential are decision maker education, firm affiliation, the ratio of rented verses owned acres used in production, soil type, weather, fertigation, drip irrigation, soil testing for pests, length of growing period, plant variety, and use of economic thresholds in pest control decisions. Topical as well as methodological recommendations are provided for future research and policy directives.


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