This litigious battle is heating up between conventional and organic farms over both pesticide drift and the fear of GMO contamination. Recently, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that pesticide drift was indeed trespassing.
Oluf Johnson owns a 1,500 acre organic farm surrounded by conventional farms. The repeated pesticide drift caused big problems for Johnson, making his produce unsalable on the organic market, according to the Star Tribune and seen on Natural News.
According to the Star Tribune:
"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.
Contamination of Johnson's fields occurred in 1998, 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2008 even after the local pesticide cooperative, Paynesville Farmers Union had been repeatedly warned of spraying neighboring fields in a way that violated Minnesota state law.
Again, the Star Tribune:
For Johnson and his wife, Debra, it's been a long, hard fight. Their attorney, Arlo Vande Vegte of Long Lake, said they would not comment on the decision because talking about it publicly could jeopardize their case. It will get another hearing in Stearns County District Court, where it was originally dismissed, he said.
This is great news that highlights an ever growing and highly damaging problem. I'm curious to see whether we'll have some litigation over organic seed contamination with GMO seeds next. After all, Monsanto has been all over the lawsuits.
According to Organic Authority, "Monsanto has filed 145 lawsuits since 1997 against farmers who saved seeds" because they contend that all farmers that buy their GMO seeds sign a patent agreement. They're darn serious about the agreement too, if you break it you can count on a lawsuit.
Undoubtedly, this could be just the beginning as organic farmers seek damages for their ruined crops.
If the pesticide company has been repeatedly warned about violating state laws, they should be held financially liable for any damages they have caused.
They should also receive fines from the state, with (hopefully) a suspension of their license. If you can't play by the rules, GET OUT.
If you see pesticide/herbicide application in process, go to your computer and record data such as temperature, wind velocity, wind direction, and humidity. That information is vital when you ask for compensation.
I was thinking that there is a lot in this area that is the result of a bureaucratic
ruling... an EPA ruling, for instance... that does not require a court to correct.
Also -- I just have to say what this reminded me of...
I live in Oklahoma and there is a law that a saloon cannot locate within 500 yds of a church.
I'm not sure on the exact distance.
Now... there is an old house that some minister-type guy decided to start a little church.
It just happened to be next to a corner where there were already three bars.
One of the bars burned down, and that little church brought legal proceedings against
them rebuilding the bar. The other bars were grandaddied (already established) but the
new bar was affected by the law.
It never got rebuilt.
In a way -- this is a lot like organic farms vs the polluting farm methods.
I doubt these good farmers ever thought they'd be compared to a strip joint...
but... it's starting to look that way. Oh... the world is a crazy place, ain't it.
"The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time."
--- by Terry Tempest Williams, naturalist
The Greenhouse of the Future ebook by Francis Gendron