New crop registry to help avoid pesticide damageby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
ROCHESTER, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has made public a registry of sensitive crops to help prevent accidental pesticide damage.
The Driftwatch online registry tells pesticide applicators where crops that would be injured by inadvertent pesticide spray are located. Certified organic farms, fruits, vegetables and Christmas trees are included in the registry.
Farmers who grows these crops can post information on the registry about the location and type of crop. Mike Schommer, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, said pesticides are designed to be used in a certain way.
"What we're trying to do is give people some tools ... so they can take extra steps to make sure they can get along with their neighbor and make sure they're not running into problems," he said.
Spray drift is illegal in Minnesota, but enforcement of the law is based on complaints. Schommer said the department hopes the registry will help reduce the number of complaints of accidental pesticide spraying.
"Our goal really is to cut this down to the point where it's not happening nearly as much, where this is an effective tool," he said. "Driftwatch can help us accomplish that."
Minnesota does not have notification requirements for agricultural pesticides, the way it does for non-farm uses like mosquito control around residential areas, Schommer said. Minnesota is one of seven states offering the Driftwatch registry. It is not intended for residential locations or sites with less than half an acre.