Farmers know it is their responsibility to use pesticides in the safest possible manner to protect employees and the communities where they work and live. No one wants to have a pesticide drift incident and there are numerous laws and regulations in place to ensure public safety. In 2006 a group of California farmers in Kern County developed a program designed to help prevent pesticide drift incidents. The program called, Spray Safe, goes beyond simply following already stringent rules and regulations. Spray Safe is designed to promote increased communication among farmers about pending and ongoing pesticide applications. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to instill increased resolve among farmers to take every precaution necessary to ensure public safety – this is particularly so when it comes to protecting farm workers and field crews.
At the heart of Spray Safe is a checklist which is widely distributed among farmers in a given area. Other program components include the following:
- An annual meeting with growers, applicators and the ag officials to review the rules and regulations governing pesticide use and to share experiences and discuss concerns.
- Regular education about how to improve existing practices or policies to further enhance public safety.
- Broad dissemination of the Spray Safe checklist to remind farmers and applicators about precautions that must be taken when applying pesticides.
- A concerted effort encouraging farmers to get to know their neighbors and to share phone numbers and contact information for owners, foremen and labor contractors who work and farm near us.
- Distribution of Spray Safe signage and informational materials to help spread the word among members Spray Safe, please other farms about the need for vigilance and safety.
For more information contact the Alliance for Food and Farming at (831) 786-1666.