Sunday, October 05, 2008

Organic Farmer Wins $1 million Verdict for Pesticide Drift

The Environmental News Service reports that last week a Santa Cruz County, California jury awarded $1 million to Jacob's Farms, an organic farming operation whose edible herbs were contaminated by pesticides applied to vegetables on nearby farms. At issue were the pesticides chlorpyrifos, diazinon and dimethoate (organophosphates) applied to the adjoining property. The pesticide drift occurred after evaporation of the liquid application, likely as a result of wind and fog.

According to the news report, the court ruled that the pesticide applications that were made by Western Farm Services and that drifted onto the organic herb fields constituted a trespass and a nuisance depriving the organic farmer the right to use and enjoy the land. The jury also found negligence on the part of Western Farm Services in its application of the pesticides. Western Farm Services said it is likely to appeal the verdict.

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