Compliance with pesticide rules at all-time high in ND

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says compliance with state and federal pesticide laws and regulations is at an all-time high in North Dakota.

“The pesticide and fertilizer division of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture conducted a record 1,042 inspections of farms and businesses in 2012,” Goehring said. “More than 840 were found to be in compliance. That means 81 percent inspected by NDDA during the year were in compliance with the law.”

Goehring credited the high compliance rate in large part to the department's outreach and compliance assistance program.

“Our pesticide team participated in 120 public meetings and compliance assistance opportunities last year, reaching more than 4,400 members of the public to discuss pesticide regulation,” he said. “These meetings included private certification sessions set up with local Extension Service personnel, grower meetings, small group and one-on-one compliance assistance visits, garden clubs, and other settings.”

Goehring said the department continues to address pesticide use near surface water, the use of grain fumigants, compliance with labeling requirements, compliance with the Worker Protection Standard and reducing pesticide drift and pesticide use in or near beehives.

“We conducted 34 inspections of grain fumigant dealers and users due to the high risk that fumigants can pose to the public,” he said. “We also conducted 27 pesticide use inspections in areas that posed a potential risk to groundwater and surface water, and we conducted 87 producer establishment inspections to verify compliance with container and containment requirements."

Goehring said pesticide drift continues to be an issue in North Dakota, although drift complaints were down significantly from past years with only 49 follow-up complaint investigations in 2012, down from 74 in 2011.

“Some of this was due to friendlier weather conditions during the spring pesticide use season,” he said. “Some of the reduction in complaints, however, is probably the result of the increased emphasis we put on drift in 2011.”

The findings are included in the annual report NDDA submits to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.