This is where you can find the most common questions we get asked about our 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 our state of South Dakota does not even require evidence of insurance as part of the application process, the operator is not obligated to provide this information.  We were told that 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?

Due to the nature of our off-farm jobs, we cannot engage in consulting or giving advice to any organic farmer.  However, we hope to change this in the future.  Please check back.  We currently have no budget and this website is provided as a "free" service.   We hope to get funding someday to support our educational efforts.

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

Not really. 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

My test results came back higher than EPA allowances. Should I report it?

It is up to you to decide.  We reported our incident to the EPA using their online form for reporting violations. They will not contact you back and will not respond to inquiries about your complaint.

Should I contact the crop applicator directly?

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

When should I contact the SD State pesticide regulation office?

Within 24 hours!  As soon as you suspect 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?

I strongly recommend that you carry out your own investigation in addition to the state. Hiring someone is expensive. Each sample is $750-1000 for three screens and a few individual screens.  If you get sprayed, send in your clothing and a good hair sample.  If you can afford it, cut of a good 2 inches of hair for sampling.  Pesticide sampling is expensive.  The Prairiesun Organics investigation was around $10,000.  We have included a PDF sample of that report on this website. You can use that as your guide. If you wish to hire someone to write and compile the report, please contact us.

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?

I would recommend taking multiple samples and running as many screens as possible for several reasons. 1) You will need them for your organic certifier as part of your response to suspected contamination, 2) the State of SD process is extremely lengthy and slow, 3) you may find chemical residue not reportedly sprayed by the applicator bringing negligence to view, 4) the State will not run a full set of screens at the taxpayer expense.  Be sure to Label them with a unique identifier and keep a 2nd identical sample in your freezer.

Should I pursue civil litigation?

Here is our experience with this.  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 plan to keep you updated on this as the Prairiesun Organics case unfolds.  Filing in small claims court likely will result in it getting kicked up to circuit court, so it is probably not worth your time as we have been informed.