Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Legislation - Let's Get This Done

The following is from the Iowa Farmers Union.  They are working to get some changes made in Iowa with respect to agricultural chemical applications.  We need action on this now.  Please take some time and respond.

If you recall our spray incident in 2012, one of the big issues was the delay in learning lab results.  We were forced to secure our own lab results form a lab in Oregon to the tune of over $1500 in out of pocket costs.  We still received our results form the Pesticide Bureau, but that wasn't until the season was completed.  The only use those results had for us was to pursue compensation after the fact. 

Please take some time and make a few calls or send a few emails on our behalf.

Rob & Tammy


You've been hearing from us about all the activity at the Iowa Statehouse this past week on legislation that is important to you as Farmers Union member and supporter.

Last week we told you about a Senate subcommittee hearing scheduled for this morning on Senate Study Bill (SSB) 1221, which would appropriate funding to IDALS to:
  • establish on-line reporting for incidents of pesticide drift and
  • set up a fund to improve turnaround times for lab results when IDALS collects samples following an incident of spray drift. 
The first legislative funnel day is this Friday. That means that bills must be passed out of full committee in at least one chamber by March 6 to stay alive.

We have just learned that the FULL Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Environment will be taking up SSB 1221 at their meeting this afternoon at 1PM.


PLEASE CONTACT: Senators also can be reached by phone via the Senate switchboard: (515) 281-3371.

SSB 1221 would allow impacted farmers to more easily and accurately report incidents of pesticide drift to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) Pesticide Bureau via the IDALS website.
The Iowa Pesticide Act currently requires someone claiming damage from an incident of pesticide drift to submit a report in writing to IDALS within 60 days of the incident. With current budget and staff resources, the IDALS Pesticide Bureau is only able to collect incident reports by phone during agency business hours. This reporting process would operate much more efficiently and allow for more timely and accurate reporting if an impacted farmer could directly file an incident report in writing, as provided for by statute, via the IDALS website. A significant number of state jurisdictions already provide for this type of reporting, including Minnesota, South Dakota, Missouri and Illinois.

SSB 1221 would provide much-needed funding to improve the time required for laboratory testing following a reported incident of pesticide drift.
In a typical incident of pesticide drift, an investigator from the IDALS Pesticide Bureau is able to follow up an incident report with an on-site visit in a matter of days. The on-site visit often includes collecting samples for testing to determine whether an incident of drift occurred and which chemicals were involved. Unfortunately, the current time for returning the laboratory results for these tests is
in the range of 6 to 8 months. This delay places an enormous burden on an impacted farmer trying to take reasonable precautionary steps - such as segregating or washing crops intended for human consumption - and working to minimize financial losses.
Providing IDALS with the resources to significantly shorten the turnaround time for lab results is critical to supporting farmers impacted by pesticide drift.
 For more information on this bill, please visit the Pesticide Drift Resource Page on our website.

Thank you for your help!

Jana Linderman
IFU President

1 comment:

  1. Here is what Rob sent to each member of the committee today:

    My name is Rob Faux, owner and operator of the Genuine Faux Farm near Tripoli, Iowa. Our farm has been in operation since 2005 and we are a diverse operation focusing on vegetable crops, poultry and fruit. We have opted to certify organic and we rely on pollinators for many of our crops.

    In 2012, an aerial applicator flew over the western half of our farm with the nozzles on. Lorsban, Sniper and Stratego were directly applied to these portions of our farm, hitting our turkey and hen flocks, our high tunnel production area and one of our vegetable fields. In addition to this, I was personally coated with these chemical while working outdoors, our bee hives were terminated and some of our outbuildings were in this flight path.

    We followed the processes and procedures necessary to deal with this situation to the best of our abilities and within the extent of the laws of that time. In the end, we had to destroy all produce from this area for the remainder of the season (July 27 to the end of the year), we could not sell eggs for over two months and we had to overstress pastures in our rotation by moving our flocks off of the sprayed areas.

    I would like to express our support for SSB 1221 at this time.

    The Pesticide Bureau treated us with respect and did as well as we feel they could do given their current staffing and funding. However, discussions with many other persons who have experienced chemical misapplications tell us that many fail to follow through with reporting due to accessibility to the reporting system. In short, the current system suppresses reporting. A better reporting system and encouragement to use that system would give us the data necessary to show that chemical misapplication is a serious problem that has only gotten worse over the past ten years.

    Further, we were forced to send our own lab reports to a private lab in order to ascertain the extent of the problem. We were informed that results from the Pesticide Bureau would take 6-8 months (which is about what it ended up being). This is not sufficient when a person is trying to determine whether any of a potentially affected crop is edible. We collected our own samples (with direction from the Pesticide Bureau representative) and sent them to a private lab in Oregon. A week and over $1500 later, we had results that showed us what we had to destroy and what we could still harvest.

    Quick and efficient lab results are key for many producers in cases such as ours. The chemical misapplication occurred July 27. Of the three chemicals misapplied, Lorsban has a 40 day setback rating for bell peppers. In other words, this chemical is rated to allow harvest of bell peppers 40 days after application. Thus, September 6 would be the earliest we could have expected to harvest crops that had Lorsban residue. However, most chemicals, such as Stratego and Sniper have no ratings for fresh vegetables. In other words, they are not intended by the companies that synthesize them to be used on crops such as those we grow and application to these crops deems them unsafe for consumption. Therefore, it is vital to be able to ascertain whether food crops, such as the ones we grow, are safe to be distributed. Without sufficient testing procedures in place, operations such as ours are forced to destroy crops simply to avoid the potential liability.

    Please consider passing SSB 1221 through the committee.

    Thank you for your time.

    Rob Faux


Thank you for your input! We appreciate hearing what you have to say.