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You Have Crop Damage from a Pesticide Misapplication, Now What? (07/19/18)

The first thing I tell farmers: “mark the date on the calendar.” Next, do a survey of your land and quantify how many acres are impacted and the locations of those impacted areas.

You Have Crop Damage from a Pesticide Misapplication, Now What?

The first thing I tell farmers:  “mark the date on the calendar.” Next, do a survey of your land and quantify how many acres are impacted and the locations of those impacted areas. If it takes a couple of days to do this preliminary assessment, mark on your calendar each date you discovered there was a problem for a particular piece of land. Note, at this stage you do not need to determine yield losses or who is responsible, you are just trying to figure out the range and extent of the problem. You are doing this to preserve your right to sue for damages under ND’s “Pesticide application - Alleged property damage - Notification of applicator” law. You can read more about this law here: https://pestcert.ndsu.nodak.edu/NDSU-DicambaDrift-Resources

Once you have a preliminary assessment, the next step would be to notify “potential applicators/farmers” in the neighborhood via certified mail that you have a problem and invite them to come to your property to inspect the damage. You have 28 days from when you found out you had the problem or before 20% of the crop is harvested to get this done. That letter should not threaten lawsuits or make specific claims about how much damage there is. It is merely a notification and invitation to those who may be responsible to inspect the damage. People who may be sent this letter include land holders for all those contiguous to your property and custom applicators that you have observed operating near your field. If you suspect the source is vapor drift and/or physical drift coupled with an inversion, you may want to expand the number of people who are notified to at least people within a three-mile radius.

It takes time and effort to make these notifications, but often, in my experience, if they are done tactfully, the responses are usually sincere and constructive.

When you finish making notifications, and if it is dicamba related, then PLEASE submit your preliminary assessment of the problem to the ND Department of Agriculture via their voluntary on-line survey.  Doing so will help regulators and university personnel understand where in ND the problems are and how much is occurring. This will be critical for making recommendations on the use of dicamba technology to EPA and/or for crafting new state regulations for the future.

If you believe the damage warrants filing a formal complaint with the NDDA, you can go here to file it on-line or to look up the number to call them.

Finally, you may well want to contact the registrant of the suspected product in order for them to do an assessment. This may be helpful when trying to figure out the problem, but it should not be done until the other steps have been completed.

 

Andrew A. Thostenson

Pesticide Program Specialist

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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