Reporting Chemical Drift
Everything you need to know about recognizing and reporting chemical drift is on a new website created by The Spray Drift Education Network (SDEN). This grass roots organization was recently formed by Brian and Anita Poeppel of Broad Branch Farm and Jane Heim of Willow Creek Organic Farm in response to the lack of pesticide incident complaints filed with the IDOA.
Only about 10% of spray drift occurences are reported. If you do not want yourself and others exposed to chemical drift, you need to file a complaint with the IL Department of Agriculture, whether you are on your property or not. It is the responsibility of the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) to regulate and protect citizens from pesticide drift.
The goal of the Spray Drift Education Network is to help people recognize and report all pesticide drift incidents and work to eliminate pesticide drift.
The new DriftWatch program on the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s website may help prevent some chemical drift incidents in the future, but only if two things happen. First, local vineyards, specialty growers, organic farmers (livestock and crops), beekeepers, and other sensitive areas that don’t want chemical overspray need to register on the site. Second, and most importantly, although chemical applicators are not required to check the site, they must do so each time they go out to spray. Otherwise, DriftWatch will be nothing more than pretty wrapping paper on an empty box – in other words, worthless.
In addition to registering on the site, people must continue to report every drift incident they witness as the chemical applicators begin their work this season. The IDOA needs to know whenever drift occurs, and must investigate the incidents to verify them. The reporting and investigating will help everyone who wants to have less chemical exposure.
Working in your garden, you notice a spray rig upwind of you. Surely he will not spray today when the wind is blowing so strong right at your house and garden. The rig stretches out its booms, revs up, and an unknown mist emerges from the spray nozzles. You see the dust blowing and you smell something not quite right. You click over to the Spray Drift Education Network site and find everything you need to file a complaint.