February 15, 2016
Last week Iowa State Senator Dick Dearden introduced a bill (SSB 3125) that will improve pesticide spray drift testing for farmers across Iowa. It's time to contact your Senator and tell them you want a more efficient pesticide spray drift testing protocol.
About the Bill: The current system for pesticide spray drift testing is outdated and inconvenient. When a farmer has been drifted on they are required to submit a report to the IDALS Pesticide Bureau within 60 days of the incident. The report must be submitted over the phone during business hours, which is particularly inconvenient when drift happens on a weekend or outside of business hours.
If a farmer is able to file a report, an investigator from the Pesticide Bureau is usually able to to follow up with an on-site visit to collect samples for lab testing in a matter of days. Unfortunately, the farmer won’t receive their results from IDALS for 6-8 months. This delay in test results is unacceptable.
Farmers may not be able to get in touch with the individual who caused the drift and are forced to wait for information about what chemicals their crops, animals, workers, and families have been exposed to. This is particularly problematic for organic farmers and all farmers who grow food crops as some chemicals are not approved for human consumption. Losing an entire harvest or season to an unknown chemical exposure can be financially devastating.
SSB 3125 does the following:
- Directs IDALS to allow for on-line reporting of drift incidents
- Directs IDALS to send samples collected in drift investigations to the State Hygienic Lab
- Appropriates civil fines collected by IDALS in drift investigations back to IDALS to pay for testing by the State Hygienic Lab
It’s time to move Iowa’s pesticide drift reporting system into the 21st century. Almost all neighboring states already have online reporting. It allows farmers to immediately report incidents when it is convenient for them. It would also allow farmers to directly file written incident reports in their own words, which may improve the accuracy of reporting. There would be no risk of details being lost when a third party attempts to translate a phone conversation into writing. It works well in other states; Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, and South Dakota all have online reporting.
State Hygienic Lab
Iowa’s State Hygienic Lab already processes samples for Missouri and Nebraska as part of their official pesticide drift investigation process. They have sufficient staff and equipment to get farmers their testing results in just 2-4 weeks. Providing the same level of service to Iowa farmers that the lab already provides for Missouri and Nebraska farmers is an efficient and common sense solution for the delays Iowa farmers currently experience from IDALS's lab.
We need your help today to improve reporting and testing turnaround for Iowa farmers! The subcommittee for SSB 3125, Senate Natural Resources & Environment Committee, is not currently scheduled to meet. THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU that Iowans want a more efficient pesticide spray drift testing protocol and want this bill to move forward.
WHAT TO DO
Call or email today:
- Senator Brian Schoenjahn (Fayette Co.) email@example.com 515-281-3371 Co-Chair of Senate Natural Resources & Environment Committee
- Senator Kevin Kinney (Keokuk Co.) Kevin.Kinney@legis.iowa.gov 515-281-3371 Co-Chair of Senate Natural Resources & Environment Committee
- Senator Dan Zumbach (Linn Co.) firstname.lastname@example.org 515-281-3371 Co-Chair of Senate Natural Resources & Environment Committee
If you have time, or if one of these other subcommittee members is YOUR local senator, please also contact:
- Jerry Behn (R, District 24) email@example.com Senate Switchboard 515-281-3371
- Joe Bolkcom (D, District 43) firstname.lastname@example.org
- David Johnson (R, District 1) email@example.com
- Janet Petersen (D, District 18) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Amanda Ragan (D, District 27) email@example.com
- Dr. Joe M. Seng (D, District 45) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tom Shipley (R, District 11) email@example.com
In your call or email, urge them to have a subcommittee hearing on SSB 3125. A sample email is below if you would like to copy and paste.
Dear Senator XXX,
Pesticide drift is an issue of great concern to me. Bill SSB 3125 was introduced last week to bring Iowa's response to pesticide drift incidents into the 21st century. The subcommittee for SSB 3125, Senate Natural Resources & Environment Committee, is not currently scheduled to meet, but this bill is important for Iowa farmers! Please work with your colleagues to make sure that there is a subcommittee meeting scheduled to discuss SSB 3125.
SSB 3125 does the following:
(1) Directs IDALS to allow for on-line reporting of drift incidents, which better accommodates farmers' busy schedules.
(2) Directs IDALS to send samples collected in drift investigations to the State Hygienic Lab rather than the IDALS lab where they are currently processed. This will reduce the turnaround time for farmers from 8 months to 2-4 weeks.
(3) Appropriates civil fines collected by IDALS in drift investigations back to IDALS to pay for testing by the State Hygienic Lab
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I know you will act in favor or Iowa farmers and help IDALS improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their pesticide program.
TOWN and/or DISTRICT