Monday, May 11, 2015

Get My Drift?

It probably is not news to many of you that the Genuine Faux Farm is involved in various things related to research involving the things we do on our farm.  Sometimes, these things show up in various media that we have not created.  So, we thought we'd point you to a few things that feature GFF in some fashion or another.  By doing this, you may get more views regarding what we do and how we do it - and maybe some plans for this year!

You might have already noticed we have done this regarding the Duck Breed Trial we performed in 2014.  Consider this the next installment on that train of thought!

Drift Catching

We agreed to be drift catchers for the Pesticide Action Network this year.  Simply put, we will set up an apparatus that will take air samples during prime pesticide spraying time.  The idea is to begin collecting real data that will confirm or deny the assertion that drift is prevalent and a real problem.  At this point, it is often a matter conjecture and opinion rather than established and measured fact.  Hopefully continued expansion of this project will collect sufficient data to illustrate the truth of the matter to help provide impetus for change.

Clearly, my opinion is that there are plenty of chemicals in the air throughout the state during spray season.  But, I am acutely aware that I have no scientific-based research to support my statement.  And, I am also aware that these drift catchers may find nothing as well.  But, this is why you participate in research.  We want to begin the process of finding out what sort of a problem we have.

A blog post by Lex Horan of PAN features GFF during recent drift catcher training.

Photo courtesy of PAN
To give you a better idea as to how PAN is approaching this research, I would like to direct you to their stories from the field page.  It's an accessible presentation that makes it clear that they are doing what they can to provide a scientifically sound method to provide evidence of a problem that is in need of addressing.  If anything, it seems to me that this approach is more likely to record false negatives rather than false positives.  But, in this situation, that is probably the best approach.

Things that this study will do and not do:
- it will not be tracking herbicide or other chemical drift that we are pretty sure happen as well
- it can not continuously monitor air quality - nor can it test for all impurities
    Essentially, there are tubes with resins that are used for collection.  Every so often, these get replaced and sent to a lab for testing.  Various resins/tests are needed for all sorts of air impurities.  So, you can't expect to test for everything at once - nor can you expect to take samples continuously.  It just isn't feasible with this technology and situation.
- it will not be used in any way to point fingers at any of the surrounding farms or chemical applicators
   The testing equipment is non-directional.  Further, this is only intended to begin collecting data that can be used to determine the seriousness of what we believe is a pervasive problem.  With good data, we can work to find good solutions - or so it is hoped - that will serve all of us.

If you have questions about what we are doing and why, feel free to comment or send us a note.

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