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View Full Version : Wafting poison makes fertile ground for suit in Stearns County



Islander
08-03-11, 08:39 PM
by JOSEPHINE MARCOTTY (http://www.startribune.com/bios/10645336.html) , Star Tribune
July 26, 2011

Court rules pesticide drifting onto organic farm constitutes trespass.

Oluf Johnson's 1,500-acre farm in Stearns County is an organic island in a sea of chemically treated corn and soybeans.

Improperly applied pesticides repeatedly drift over from neighboring farms, often with dire consequences for Johnson. But now, thanks to a new court ruling, he and other farmers can sue to recover their losses.

Letting damaging chemicals cross property lines is trespassing, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled on Monday. Moreover, since those pesticides made his crop unsalable in the organic market, Johnson is entitled to damages from the company that applied it, the Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Co., the court said.

"Whenever this happens it will give people with overspray a legal avenue to pursue," said Doug Spanier, an attorney with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, which administers pesticide enforcement regulations in the state. And that could go for any farmer whose crop is made inedible by someone else's chemical spray and even homeowners whose property has been damaged by a neighbor's overuse of RoundUp, legal experts said.

It's one case among many across the country that illustrate how the fight over pesticide use is becoming increasingly contentious. Consumers and health experts are worried about the consequences of pesticides and herbicides in the food chain, and the demand for organically grown food is rising in lockstep.

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/local/126151483.html