Prairiesun Organics Case Overview 2017

Glenn holding no spray sign
Glenn holding no spray sign

This case is closed as of 30 January 18 by the South Dakota Dept of Agriculture Pesticide division. The pilot was found guilty of violating federal labeling laws, however, the family has suffered thousands of dollars in losses and there is no recompense from the aerial applicator for Prairiesun Organics because SDDA does not require aerial applicators to carry liability insurance nor to disclose it in damage claims. The family presented their case before the South Dakota Senate Ag Committee hearing on SB179 on 6 February 2018. They are strong voices for stopping drift onto organic farms and finding a solution to this problem in South Dakota.

Glenn Pulse and Angela operate PrairieSun Organics dba Prairiesun Poultry located in Fairview Township 1.8 miles north of the DakotaDome in Clay County, South Dakota.  The farm sold organic fresh eggs to local retailers and direct-to-consumer broiler chicken meat hand processed on the farm.   In 2017, they applied for a federal FSIS grant of inspection and subject to organic inspection carried out by Midwest Organic Services Association, a USDA NOP accredited certifying agency.  On July 12th, they were victims of a severe chemical trespass drift incident on their property and their personal bodies by an off-target drift of aerial application of restricted use insecticide, fungicide, and herbicides.  They were issued two major non-compliances to USDA NOP rules and could face a total suspension or revocation of certification if this continues.  50-60% of their prime production land was removed from certified organic status in 2017.Angela and Glenn are out of the poultry business no fault of their own.  The pilot reportedly sprayed Brigade 2EC insecticide and Trivapro fungicide, however many herbicides showed up in the test results. The active ingredient Propiconazole in Trivapro exceeded the EPA tolerance levels for forage in two samples. The dead bee sample tested positive for insecticides at 2x the lethal dose.  There were three collections from three inspectors from three different sampling sites on three different days and all the samples coincided with the same active chemicals that were reportedly sprayed on 12 July.  Their clothing was also tested.  Active ingredients that tested positive in the samples were:

  • Acetochlor (herbicide)
  • Metolachlor (herbicide)
  • Metribuzin (herbicide)
  • Atrazine (herbicide)
  • Trifloxystrobin (fungicide)
  • Azoxystrobin (fungicide)
  • Propiconazole (fungicide)
  • Pyraclostrobin (fungicide)
  • Trifloxystrobin (fungicide)
  • Bifenthren (insecticide)

Brigade 2EC is a restricted use pesticide (RUP) with the active ingredient Bifenthrin insecticide that is highly toxic to bees. If there is restricted use, the labeling requirements for restricted use must be followed.  What I found in US EPA label review manual is the following: "Restricted use pesticides are subject to the labeling requirements specified in 40 CFR Part 156, including the requirements set out in 40 CFR 156.10(j)(2) described further in PR Notice 93-1."

The findings from the Prairiesun Organics investigation resulted in this website to help other South Dakota organic farmers and registered sensitive sites with educational resources on how to exercise properly respond to chemical trespass. The Pulses also worked with local lawmakers to introduce South Dakota Senate Bill 179.  If it would have passed, it would have added more protection for organic farmers and damage recovery through insurance.