ByJohnathan Hettinger/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
After five years of reported crop damage by the weed killer dicamba, German agribusiness companies Bayer and BASF will head to trial next week to defend themselves against charges that they intentionally caused the problem in order to increase their profits.
ByClaire Hettinger / Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Last week, we hosted a discussion regarding our pesticide drift sensor project. Twenty-five people from various industries including scientists from the University of Illinois, local public health officials, the Champaign County Farm Bureau, and environmental focus groups gathered at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department as we presented our findings from the project and asked for their input.
ByCynthia Voelkl/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
The current large farms, utilizing far fewer farms than in the past has created population loss that threatens scores of small towns that sprouted on the prairie in a different time, when larger numbers of small farmers depended on them.
Hundreds of rural schools in Midwest states nestle against fields of corn and soybeans that are routinely sprayed with pesticides that could drift onto school grounds.
Health experts say those pesticides might pose risks to children, and nine states in other regions of the country have been concerned enough to pass laws requiring buffer zones. But states in the Midwest do not require any kind of buffer zone between schools and crop fields and seldom require any notification that pesticides are about to be sprayed, a review of laws by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
Iowa’s organic farms, vineyards, apiaries and other non-conventional farms surrounded by row crops treated with pesticides are at risk of being hit with drifting spray that can leave their farms’ futures uncertain.