Herbicide Drift

It is not at all uncommon to see a crop-dusting aircraft flying low spraying herbicides on farm fields. Even more common is a tractor with a tank and long booms that extend over 100′ and spray herbicides or even fertilizer.

But what happens when that spraying occurs and the wind is blowing and your crops or garden or trees are affected by an herbicide? What happens when those chemicals drift onto your property and damage your property?

The law states that you may be compensated for the damages to your crops as the result of herbicide drift.

For example, a Bingham County jury recently awarded $187,000 in damages to a farmer who suffered losses to his potato crop as the result of herbicide drift. The farmer sued an aerial application company that had flown over adjoining grazing land. The farmer was able to show at trial that the wind direction and a cold air inversion led to herbicide drifting onto his potato crop.

Herbicide (and pesticide) applicators are responsible for managing and controlling drift of the product they are applying. If is too windy applicators should not apply their product as it may drift onto neighboring property. In addition, other factors such as temperature and humidity may affect the application process.

Applicators also have a responsibility to make sure that the application of product does not affect streams and rivers and drinking supplies. Generally, commercial applicators must be licensed by the State of Idaho and must receive some training prior to working as an applicator.

If you believe that your crops may have been damaged by herbicide drift you should call an attorney before the crop is harvested so that tests can be conducted to determine the cause of the problem with the crop. Experts can examine and test your crop to determine the cause of the damage.

In short, herbicide drift can cause many thousands of dollars of damage to your crop. The law states that you are entitled to compensation for the damage.