Organic Farm Could Lose Certification Because Neighbors Use Pesticides
Jeff Gangemi Jul 13, 2012 News 0 comments
Organic certification is by no means a perfect science. But what happens when the pesticides from one non-organic farm cross over to a neighboring organic farm? Should the organic farm lose its certification because of the actions of their non-organic neighbor?
According to a recent ruling in Colorado, the answer is a resounding “NO.” The non-organic farm now has a legal obligation to prevent the pesticides from crossing over. Failure to do so may result in a charge akin to trespassing.
The judge’s ruling was careful to protect the rights of both landowners, but cautioned pesticide users to avoid spraying when winds could carry chemicals to a neighboring field.
Though critical to maintaining the integrity of organically grown crops in this country, it will be interesting to see how the legal system addresses related concerns. For instance, should organic farms or fisheries that sit downstream from non-organic operations be protected against similar “trespassing?”
Read on for more:
"DELTA, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado judge has ruled that a farmer spraying against mosquitoes needs to prevent the pesticide from drifting into a neighboring organic farm, likening the action to a form of trespassing.
Judge Charles Greenacre ruled Thursday that two farmers cannot use pesticides within 150 feet of an organic farm run by a neighbor. The case originated in Delta County, an area known for its orchards and farms, many of them organic, as well as wineries.
James and Georgia Hopper, farmers near Hotchkiss, had sprayed Fyfanon, a pesticide containing malathion, in 2010 in efforts to protect themselves against the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. Georgia Hopper was hospitalized after becoming ill with the virus in 2006."
Image courtesy of the USDA