top of page
  • Writer's pictureJenna Bonnoront

The Dark Side of Living in 'Farm Country'

Allow me to vent for a minute...

Yesterday, with sustained winds of 15-20 mph blowing directly towards my garden, a spray applicator decided it would be a good time to apply herbicide (and not just any herbicide, but Roundup PowerMAX® 3-- touted as the herbicide with the "Highest Concentration of Glyphosate in the U.S. Market") to the field across the road. I went over both to verify what was being sprayed, and with hopes of talking to the person running the sprayer. I didn't get the chance- I couldn't get close enough to flag him down (without getting a face full of glyphosate), and my attempts from afar were either unseen or ignored. I wanted to explain that while I understand this is crunch time for farmers, I hoped he could understand that my livelihood depends on the crops growing in my garden-- and many vegetable and fruit crops are very susceptible to glyphosate damage.


I hate that glyphosate and other herbicides are so widely used, but will say that most farmers and spray applicators in our area try to be respectful of their neighbors and choose only to spray on calm days. The fact that this individual thought it acceptable to spray during such windy conditions is incredibly disheartening to me.


I'm watching my garden closely and am hoping that my elderberries served as a block and took the brunt of the spray drift. It can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks for herbicide damage to show up, but I'm already seeing what could be damage on the outermost elderberry foliage.


I'm yet undecided as to the best way to handle this situation. I'm still trying to track down exactly who did the spraying, as I'd like to have a civil conversation with them. I've been advised that filing a formal complaint does very little to help remedy this type of situation. If anyone has any experience or advice, please share!


On a personal level, this too shall pass-- I'm by no means the only one. Every year millions of gardeners experience some level of spray damage on their plants (whether they realize it or not). I can replant some of my annual crops, and I can continue to build buffers around my garden with plants that can handle the damage or are known phytoremediators. But on a higher level, the overuse of chemicals which are detrimental to the environment and human health needs to stop. The irresponsible application of these chemicals should be taken as the serious offense that it is. We should NOT have to rush our children indoors and shut every window on a beautiful spring day because we don't want them inhaling spray drift. We should NOT have to deal with soil and water contamination resulting from the overuse and abuse of certain chemicals. We should NOT have to pour our hearts and souls into our beautiful organic gardens only to have it tainted by one careless spray applicator who was in a rush to get the job done. 😢


Thank you for allowing me to vent. I hope that all of us like-minded humans can continue to share the joy of thriving gardens and natural spaces, each of us caring for a little plot of earth, each of us encouraging others to do the same. It's how change can begin.

2,759 views16 comments

Recent Posts

See All

16 Comments


Michael Nice
Michael Nice
Feb 23

I recommend building a frame over your garden beds and having a removable clear tarp you can protect them with. Then just ask your neighbor for a heads up before he sprays.

It is quite a project and can be an expense but I find it helps to protect the plants from storm damage as well if built robustly. It can help extend the growing season as well since you can transform the garden into a greenhouse in the spring. There is another possible benefit, if you have insect problems you have the option of hanging agricultural netting over the garden to limit predatory insects.

Like

zooeyhall
Oct 28, 2023

I'm a small 68 year old farmer in Nebraska. I farm the 160 my family has lived on for 83 years. At 160 acres, I'm definitely in the "small farmer" category.


I too spray herbicides. They are absolutely vital to my livelihood. But I have also seen these huge spray rigs out there---mostly "custom" sprayer-operators---spraying on days where the wind would make me hesitant to spray.


The main problem is the HUGE size of modern machinery, which has its ultimate roots in the increasing size and consolidation of farms. I have a small 13 foot sprayer that covers about 8 rows. The modern rigs have booms up to 100 feet in length. (Hey--the bigger it is,, the more you c…



Like

Roger Forsthoefel
Roger Forsthoefel
Jun 25, 2023

We went through this a few years ago and lost all garden plants and all the leaves fell from the fruit trees. They never produced fruit after that. Called the Ohio dept of Ag and they sent an investigator out who took a lot of pictures and samples. The tenent farmer was contacted and his spraying license was suspended. They helped us come up with an estimate for the loss and he was given the option of paying for it or being charge in criminal court for chemical tresspassing where the penality is 3x whatever the losses are and license suspensionn. We also live in West central Ohio. They get hundreds of these calls every year.

Like

Johanna Pagan
Johanna Pagan
May 29, 2023

I agree 100%... Because of this, I have a garden for my family. People get sick but can't understand why when they are eating "healthy". This is part of the reason why. I'm sorry that you are going through this, I pray that your garden can recoup quickly.

Like

Lisa Zuress
Lisa Zuress
May 28, 2023

You can file a complaint with the Ohio EPA and they will come out and investigate. Keep dates and take pictures of the damage. They will pull up the wind speeds and direction of the wind for the date(s) you give them.

Like
bottom of page