Monday, August 10, 2009

Chemical drift from farms prompts law in Maine, call for more controls in Illinois and similar states

The drift of chemicals from one farm where they do good, to another farm or residential area where they do harm, has long been an issue in agricultural areas, but seems to be rising on the public agenda. "State legislatures throughout the country are grappling with chemical drift from farm fields and the conflict between the rights and pressures of farming and the rights and health of rural residents," Clare Howard reports for the Peoria Journal Star.

Proponents of more regulation point to a new law in Maine, which "calls for the creation of a notification registry for two types of aerial applications to inform neighbors of what, when and how chemicals are being used on agriculture fields," Howard reports, quoting an officer of the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association, who said the law "is expected to serve as a national model."

Howard illustrates the need for such a program by writing about the tribulations of a vineyard owner, who says his vines were damaged by 2,4-D, and a retired minster who "has filed complaints about chemical drift with the Illinois Department of Agriculture for 14 years." The 2,000-word story is here.

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