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Rick Worthington Pesticide Drift Troubles Farmers
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: May 28, 2018

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There were a record number of complaints about the misuse of pesticides last year, and that has resulted in both online and in-person training for farmers to prevent a repeat of the problem.

"Pesticide drift" is the biggest issue.

Organic farmer Dale Raasch owns Bridgewater Farm. To be certified, he can't use pesticides on his crops, but said damage from pesticide drift last summer cost him $150,000 in crop losses.

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"Somebody can spray it, and it might pick up in the wind and it might move that three, four miles and then just drop back down on my place and I'm not gonna know exactly where that came from until, you know, everything's dying," he said.

Farmers concerned about this year's crops can register their operations online at driftwatch.org, which allows applicators to identify areas that should not be sprayed.

Professor Bob Hartzler said risk can be minimized if there's proper communication between conventional and organic farmers.

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"If they are injured where symptoms develop, they no longer can market that crop and they also lose their certification," he said, "so that's a huge issue for organic farmers."

To avoid using harmful chemicals, Raasch said those who grow organic crops often rely on the old-fashioned way of farming.

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"The way we do it is, we use a cultivator," he said. "We don't depend on chemicals and things that are poison and killing everything and affecting everything."

More information is online at practicalfarmers.org/pesticide-drift.

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