The first precept means not to intentionally take the life of any living being, so if we are to walk the Path of Dhamma, there can't be any compromise on that. Even the tiniest aphid is a living, feeling being, wishing life and fearing death. As I understand it, not only should we not kill it, we should handle it with care if removing it, so as not to hurt the creature. And yes, I do
like to grow things in my backyard, so I'm not just an 'armchair onlooker'. My philosophy is, grow enough so there's enough left over that the pests can't get to first. But yeah, permaculture is the best way, as Ben wrote there are so many simple and natural ways to protect our food plants that don't
require us to intentionally kill anything.