It is now January, 2014. It has been nearly a year and a half since a plane flew over the Western portion of the farm and sprayed insecticides and fungicides directly on us. And, we are just now getting into the part of the paperwork on the farm this Winter that has Rob working on our legal case documentation.
We received a small 'Christmas' present when Practical Farmers of Iowa published a summary of the physical public records at IDALS on horticulture-related spraying cases over the period of 2009 and 2012. We are the last record on the report. We've periodically asked for status on the IDALS case and had been told that it was not yet complete. Admittedly, we haven't thought to do this part of the paper chase during the off-season until now. The summary by PFI probably shouldn't be used as a replacement for the official documents, but it prompts us to have our legal representative get the official documents.
This post will go live at 1:30AM, which is about the time I was writing a post titled Collateral Damage when I couldn't sleep the night after the spraying. I actually exercised restraint at that time and didn't post. Instead, I waited a day plus and did a bit of editing. Amazingly, I didn't have to work too hard to tone it down to an acceptable level. I re-read that post now and again and find that my feelings are still pretty much in line with what I said then:
"I suppose it is possible we can get some monetary compensation for lost
crops, etc. But, it doesn't cover what I'm feeling right now."
I might forget some of the initial steps, we took in response to this situation. And we did our best to keep everyone updated as we forged ahead. In fact, I do sometimes forget how much we DIDN'T know at that time about what we could/should do. And, it took a long time to get official lab results (August 15) to confirm some of what we already feared was going to be true - all of the produce in the sprayed area had to be condemned.
But, what I don't forget is how both of us FELT during that time. In fact, I am typing this because I still react strongly whenever I have to spend some time working on the case. But, as I reported about 9 weeks after the spraying, the feelings of anger, frustration, worry, fear, helplessness, confusion and hurt are still there. I don't necessarily feel these on a daily basis anymore, but they sure do resurface quickly when something calls my attention back to the whole thing. But, now, my feelings are dominated by anger, frustration, worry, fear
and helplessness because it could happen on our farm again. And, it DOES happen in so many places - over and over and OVER again.
I probably need to work to control these feelings since I am slated to lead a PFI farminar in February on the topic. In fact, I am asked, periodically, to present to classes in the area and I have added a little bit about the spraying incident to most talks. I dislike including that topic because I am not giving talks to generate sympathy. I do them because I want to aid in education and the dissemination of important information. And, frankly, this an incredibly important topic.
Therefore, I will continue to address the topic. I may be slow to get started because I don't want to overwhelm whomever I am talking to. Usually, I want to be certain that the person(s) I am talking to are receptive to hearing what I have to say and to gauge about how long they are willing to hear me say it. It can take most of my self-discipline to find a stopping point once I've started.
And, so, I stop for now. We hope to have updates on the process and what we know in the very near future.