DES MOINES, Iowa – Members of the Iowa Farmers Union and the Pesticide Action Network are calling on the Iowa Department of Agriculture to reform its reporting and response process for farmers who experience losses from pesticide drift.
Pesticide drift is when a crop duster accidentally gets chemicals meant for one set of crops on another, infecting the crop and potentially putting the farmer tending to them at a loss. Iowa farmers are asking the Iowa Department of Agriculture to make several changes to their response process, including setting up a fund that would compensate farmers to send crops to a private tester if they feel concerned their fields have been contaminated, requiring pesticide operators to take out more liability insurance in case of an accident, and to update the department’s website to make the reporting process easier.
“All types of producers should be able to coexist, and what you do on your farm, should stay on your farm,” said Jordan Scheibel, a farmer from Grinnell who was effected by pesticide drift last year. “It shouldn’t negatively effect other people, and I think that’s something that everyone can get behind. We’re not saying people shouldn’t spray pesticides, we’re not saying conventional farmers need to move their operations farther away from specialty crop growers. We’re just saying that we want to make sure that, if you are spraying, it’s staying on your farm and it’s not going and negatively effecting someone else.”
The Iowa Department of Agriculture is expected to review the proposals with the two groups in a meeting in a matter of weeks.