By Matt Hall — Staff Writer
Even though Monsanto’s new strain of dicamba-resistant soy has yet to receive USDA approval, crops of this strain (as well as 2,4-D-resistant corn and soy) have already been planted in North Dakota. This flagrant dismissal of the USDA shows Monsanto is exercising the power it has in the U.S. agricultural industry. It also means nearby farmers now have to deal with fallout from the incredibly dangerous herbicides and pesticides that will be used on Monsanto’s crops.
Pesticide drift isn’t just an unfounded worry. In California, the pesticide 2,4-D drifted over 100 miles on a windy, hot day. This damaged at least 15,000 acres of San Joaquin Valley cotton and pomegranate.
On a field day in July, a Monsanto representative tried to ease concerned North Dakotans who were worried about pesticide drift. The representative explained that the growers, if they were “good” and “rigorous” in following the instructions provided by Monsanto, could avoid chemical drift. Of course, completely minimizing this risk (according to Monsanto standards) requires an exhaustive testing procedure. (One step is a triple rinse with additional chemicals.)
The procedure also requires growers to wait until the winds are between 3 mph and 10 mph. Unfortunately, these directions become unfeasible very quickly. The triple rinse procedure is expected to take more than an hour, and since pesticide applicators need to be scheduled to visit farms well in advance, estimating when the wind conditions will be right for cleansing is impossible.
Even produce industry leaders are seeing the flaws in this program. Steve Smith, the agriculture director at tomato giant Red Gold, said,
“Both the volatility and the direct drift threat are very real with dicamba. And it’s not just to our crop. It’s to homeowners and rural gardeners, it’s to landscapes in the countryside, and we believe there’s going to be a lot of people that’s going to see effects from this.”
Other agricultural industries are also worried about this new pesticide. Grape growers, a group that has recently exploded due to new wine industries in nearly every state, expressed concerns that this pesticide could drift and damage their crops. Since wine flavors are very sensitive to conditions during growing, entire seasons could be lost if vineyards are contaminated.
Possible Contamination of Organic Crops
The use of these new GMO crops means more than food covered in deadly pesticides. Due to the High levels of draft for the pesticides used in these crops, it is very possible that windy days did we herbicides pesticides could be carried to organic farms. This would contaminate organic crops. If this happens, it’s unclear whether farmers would know their crops of been contaminated.
Organic cross-contamination aside, he’s a stronger pesticides shows the escalation problem. As GMO crops become stronger, and Lord of the pesticides and herbicides used, the pass weeds involves well and become more resistant.
Dangerous to humans as well as crops
According to the Sleuth Journal,
For years, pesticide drift has been hurting farmers, damaging their crops and making families in rural communities sick. One Indiana tomato farmer lost $45,000 worth of his crop, and sustained permanent damage to his larynx after getting sprayed with RoundUp last summer. Organic farmers in Minnesota lost their organic certification and their crops as a result of drift. A generation of rural communities in California and Hawai’i have been getting sick, while government agencies inexplicably delay implementing rules to safeguard children’s health.
These new pesticides won’t harm only neighboring crops — they’ll harm people, too. Yet again, Monsanto is up to its old tricks.