Prepare for Pesticide Spray Season - Part IV: Waiting for Pesticide Inspection Results

| 5/14/2013 11:44:00 AM

GavelWhen the wind is blowing in your direction and you observe chemical ground rigs or aerial pilots spraying pesticides next to your property, you now know what actions you should be taking if you suspect spray drift has happened to you. As previously explained in Part I, and II, you have documented your incident and taken photos and or videos. You then reported your incident to the proper enforcement agency. After you reported your incident to your state’s regulatory agency, they sent out an inspector to observe and document the damage. (Part III: The Inspection).

During this time you’ve likely engaged in talks with the sprayer or the owner of the property which may be on-going, or have ended abruptly.

Waiting for the “verdict” after your inspection by the state regulatory agency usually takes about 3-4 weeks - at least that is what we are told here in Illinois. As you wait, you might be eating from your sprayed garden, sending your produce to a weekly Farmer’s Market, or selling your produce through your CSA. If you are organic you are selling produce supposedly with no pesticides on them. Not knowing the outcome of your pesticide drift incident is upsetting and draining on you and your family.

Here in Illinois we have found that in many cases “The Wait “ can easily stretch to 3 months and even to almost 5 months, before you hear if there is a violation of the Illinois Pesticide Act.

As organic farmer, Randy Hoovey from Geneseo, Ill., told me last fall, “We have an 8 ½ acre Certified Naturally Grown Organic farm with a couple thousand square feet of hoop house space and a grant from NRCS. We have 10,000 lettuce plants. We are still selling lettuce and don’t know what the result is from our complaint.” At that time, Randy was still waiting for the verdict after the incident where his farm, wife, and worker were spray drifted on May 18th by a local agriculture company, and again sprayed June 12th by a neighboring farmer. Later, Randy was verbally accosted by his neighbor while standing on his property’s edge. Randy had to call the sheriff. At this contentious encounter, Randy told the neighboring farmer who sprayed herbicide on the adjoining farm, “With the stuff you sprayed you have to have a 50-foot setback.” The neighboring farmer replied, “I DON’T HAVE TIME TO READ LABELS!”

It’s always good to know your neighbor is so conscientious and knowledgeable about following label directions while he sprays chemicals next to you!

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