The Peaceful “Drift” of Poisons

Just when I think that I can’t find anything else to write about on this blog I wake up and turn on my radio to hear this:

Maine’s Pesticide Registry Targeted for Repeal

The Pesticide Registry has been in place for about 2 years and has 2000 folks who have used it to register a request to be notified if someone is going to be spraying, as one organic farmer who testified at the recent hearing called it, poison within 1320 feed of their property.

This bill was initially targeted at aerial sprayers who work the blueberry fields downeast.  These guys were notorious for some fairly indiscriminate spraying that contaminated people’s houses, yards, even the clothes drying on their clothesline.

It goes back to the old debate of whether organic and conventional agriculture can happily exist side by side.  It comes down to this.  Nothing that I do as an organic farmer is going to contaminate and destroy any crop that my conventional farmer neighbor is growing.   But lots of things (pesticides, herbicides, GMO crops etc etc) can contaminate and render worthless my organic crops if there is any “drift”.

Such a peaceful sounding word “drift”.  Oh, don’t worry your pretty little head about some of my chemicals wafting lightly over your fields.  All you  organic nuts are just too hyper-vigilant.  Take a chill pill will you!!

Or as one of the conventional farmers said in his testimony on this bill:

“I been brought up all my life working with all kinds of sprays and I’m still alive,” Larrabee said. “So I look at it that that’s a big plus.”   I agree he is lucky.  He is also smart and probably very careful when he applies his sprays.  All that his neighbors are asking is that he afford them the same chance to be careful and avoid contamination.  The only way to do this is to know ahead of time when the spray planes are going over.

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