Switzerland is holding a referendum that could result in a total ban on synthetic pesticides. But environmentalists, farmers and agrochemical companies are at odds over a potential switch to organic agriculture. The wholesome world of Heidi? Pesticides and herbicides are commonly used in conventional Swiss agriculture Wine grower Jean-Denis Perrochet fills his tractor’s spray tank with diluted milk. That’s what he uses to get rid of fungus on the vines on his vineyard near the town of Neuenburg in northwestern Switzerland. Perrochet and his family started exclusively using organic farming methods back in 2012. They do not use chemical pesticides, weed killers or artificial fertilizers. Instead, they enrich the soil with homemade compost and remove weeds mechanically. "We create in a healthier way — that’s the advantage of these methods. We don’t spread poison," said Perrochet. "Before, with the synthetic sprays, there was a feeling that it wasn’t good for people or the environment." Organic winemaker Jean-Denis Perrochet presents his historic wine press on the farm Perrochet does not use chemicals at all in his vineyards. Weeds are removed mechanically Perrochet says the switch to organic complicates an already difficult job. But he is convinced that all farmers can […]

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