File this under the heading of, who would have ever thunk it?

What I'm referring to is the notion that today's farmers need a prescription and a degree in chemistry to apply herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers to their land in order to grow and produce the food we eat every day.

About this time, you're probably chuckling to yourself, smiling and thinking, "Ah that can't be happening. What's he writing about now?"

Read on.

Some environmentalists remain mighty concerned about the plant food, bug and weed control methods our farmers use today on their wheat, corn, beans, vegetables and other crops. They're also concerned about chemical residue and how application exposure affects them and their fellow human beings.

As technology continues to improve, the tools producers require to grow food fall under closer scrutiny. Some clamor louder for stricter control or even elimination. Others already believe pesticide use should be by prescription only.

Here's an example.

Say a farmer has a corn borer problem. If these radical environmentalists succeed, the producer might have to call in a specialist to look over the problem. Once the situation is diagnosed, the government specialist would write the food grower a prescription for chemicals, just like a doctor would for a sick patient.

The farmer's next step would be to call a chemical applicator who would come to the farm and apply the designated herbicide or insecticide. This additional help would subtract from the farmer's bottom line.

If you're thinking this might be a bit extreme -- could be, however, it's a safe bet we will see farmers losing the use of more and more chemicals. It happens every year.

Today, some chemicals are being lumped into the restricted-use category. This removes them from the hands of the general farming public. Some of these chemicals will never be used again.

It seems every year there are more stringent requirements for applicators who apply chemicals. Farmers must plan ahead and take part in the development of new rules and regulations that will strongly impact the way they grow our food in the future.

John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwest

Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.