Driving down the county road, you admire the beauty of the end of summer morning. As you near your organic fields the dew is starting to fade as the summer sun beats down. Stepping out of your truck on the cool brisk morning there is a difference in your field’s appearance. Leaves are curled upward with a slight browning around the edges. It’s not the summer sun that’s caused this damage but rather a drift of pesticides from a neighboring conventional field.
What happens now?
Are my crops ineligible?
Do I lose organic status?
What to do when you notice drift
The first thing to do is call your local regulatory authorities to report the drift incidence. In many cases you can submit a report to Drift Watch. To register for Drift Watch head to this link.
Now that you’ve notified authorities, you’ll need to notify your certification agency (OneCert) and submit the below information:
- §205.400(f)(1), and submit:
- The date of the occurrence
- The substance(s) believed to have been applied
- The application method by which the substances have been applied
- The affected areas of the organic parcel(s)
- Results of any residue testing (as applicable)
- Submit updated parcel maps for areas of drift occurrence, including an outline or highlight of the affected area, ensure buffers location and type of buffers are present and that adjoining land use is labeled around all sides of the field, etc.
- Photographs of the organic crop damage
What happens to my land?
Your land will retain its organic status if organic control measures (establishing reasonable buffer zones and clearly
defined boundaries around their organic parcel(s) as required in NOP 205.202(c)) were implemented prior to the drift
A noncompliance may be issued to your operation if the drift was due to insufficient buffer zones or failure to implement
adequate measures to prevent drift, per 7 CFR §205.202(c) and 205.272. Implementation of organic control measures
that will prevent the application of prohibited material(s) from recurring will need to be addressed in the operator’s Organic System Plan. This may include an increase in buffer zones, implementing agreements with neighbors for spraying, implementation of no-spray signs around parcels, etc.
Will someone take a sample of my crop?
Residual samples may be taken by the state, a third party representative, or the certified operator. OneCert may also send an inspector to collect a sample for residue testing.
OneCert follows NOP 2613 – Instruction: Responding to Results from Pesticide Residue Testing, which details the steps taken for positive residual test results. We will immediately notify the certified operator of the results of the residual testing to indicate whether your crop is eligible for organic sales or not. As required per 7 CFR §205.670(g), OneCert will notify any violations to the appropriate agency.
For additional information please refer to the OneCert: Prohibited Substance Policy
—- If you are still unsure on the next steps for reporting a drift incidence please contact OneCert by sending us an —-email or calling our direct line (402) 420-6080.