Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This is where you can find the most common questions asked about case experiences with this issue.

Doesn't the SD department of agriculture require commercial chemical applicators to carry liability insurance?

The answer is surprisingly "NO."  The State of South Dakota does not require evidence of financial responsibility or liability insurance.

Does the commercial sprayer have to provide his liability insurance information?

No.  Since the state of South Dakota does not require evidence of insurance as part of the application process, the operator is not obligated to provide this information.  Aerial applicator insurance is very hard to obtain and claims are avoided at all cost lest they be dropped from the carrier.

Do we provide consulting or advisory services for a fee?

Glenn Pulse is available for personal consultations.

Can local ordinances be enacted to protect local citizens from restricted use agricultural pesticides?

SD State law preempts local governments' ability to regulate the use of pesticides. Refer to SDCL 39-1-17.

How do I file a complaint with the FAA?

The FAA SDCO office in Rapid City, SD, is the agency to report a complaint.

3501 5th St.
Rapid City, SD 57701
Phone: (605) 737-3050 Fax: (605) 737-3069
Email the Office
7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday, Mountain Time

Should I file a complaint with the EPA Region 8 in Denver?

Many victims report their incident to the EPA using their online form for reporting violations. All complaints reported in South Dakota are forwarded to the SDDA pesticide division for follow-up.  SDDA under the FIFRA Agreement has to follow EPA reporting procedures as outlined in the cooperative agreement. If you are not happy with the investigation outcome, call the EPA directly.

Should I contact the crop applicator directly?

Yes! As soon as you suspect drift, call and send a certified letter stating the details and facts of the event to the applicator and the conventional farmer.  Some states have a timeline in which to report the incident.

When should I contact the SD State pesticide regulation office?

As soon as possible.  There is a max 30-day deadline for filing complaints from application date.  As soon as you suspect alleged drift, contact the state pesticide compliance office and file a complaint. You can do this over the phone or use the online complaint form found on the website.

How much does a private investigation cost?

Hiring a third party like GeoTek for evidence collection and sample taking can be worth it.  Each sample is $150-250 for testing plus $1,000 collection fee. Pesticide sampling is expensive.  The Prairiesun Organics investigation was around $9,000.   SD Ag Labs is NOT ACCREDITED but commonly used, but there are others used around the country.   Pacific Ag Labs in Oregon is accredited and highly recommended.

Should I take my own samples and send them in or just rely on the State of SD Dept of Ag inspector to take samples?

SDDA should take all plant samples and take your clothing for testing if you get personally sprayed.  If you collect the samples yourself, they may not be admissible as evidence if your case ends up in court.  Better safe than sorry, and let SDDA do their job first.

In addition to SDDA collected samples,  I would recommend your certifier taking additional samples and running as many screens as possible for several reasons - the State of SD process is extremely lengthy and slow,  and you may find chemical residue showing up not reportedly sprayed by the applicator bringing negligence to view.  In our experience, the State will not run a full set of screens at taxpayer expense.  Be sure to keep a 2nd identical sample in your freezer. They keep well in sealed gallon size freezer bags.

Should I pursue civil litigation?

This is a personal decision.  Since the State of SD does not require liability insurance, and the commercial applicator may not have insurance, nor give it up in an effort to protect himself from claims, you may not have any choice but to sue the commercial applicator to recover your losses.  This type of civil law suit is very expensive under tort law, and "may" not be covered on a contingency basis.  The cost of the retainer and legal fees will depend on the complexities of the case.  Finding an experienced attorney in this area is challenging.   We recommend an experienced law firm in this area.