Drift Stories

Prairiesun Organics Case Overview 2017

spray plane

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. The Pulse couple 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 northeast 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 an organic inspection carried out by Midwest Organic Services Association, a USDA NOP accredited certifying agency. Their FSIS application was canceled due to delays in final inspection.  They were issued two major non-compliances to USDA NOP rules.  All of their prime poultry and grazing land was removed from certified organic status in 2017. Angela and Glenn are out of the poultry business no fault of their own until 2021.  The pilot reportedly sprayed Brigade 2EC insecticide,  Trivapro fungicide, and CideWinder, 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 resulting in the Prairiesun Organic owner being reported to the EPA.  The dead bee sample tested positive for insecticides at or above the lethal dose.  There were three collections from three inspectors 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 amongst all the samples taken were:

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

Prairiesun Organics Case Overview 2018

This case is closed as of 27 August 2018.  No violations were issued against the operator by SDDA. On July 9th, 2018, a commercial ground applicator applied a pesticide mix to conventional soybeans not in accordance with the EPA labeling instructions (wind direction) and caused drift once again onto sensitive areas owned by Prairiesun Organic. Fruit trees and fields transitioning back to organic from last year's drift incidence were set back another year from being certified organic under the USDA National Organic Program.  The drift was detected all the way to the bushes next to their house, which is over 180' from the target crop.  The active ingredients found in the products sprayed that day are:

  • Glyphosate (herbicide)
  • Clethodim (herbicide)
  • Fluxapryoxad (Fungicide)
  • Pyraclostrobin (Fungicide)
  • Acifluorfen (herbicide)

Plus, the following chemical showed up on most samples including clothing:

  • Aminocyclopyrachlor (Herbicide not approved by EPA for row crops or grazing vegetation)

The Pulse's are deeply grieved by this tragedy once again.  Both Angela and Glenn continue to be vigilant advocates for change in South Dakota for improving and strengthening pesticide application laws and rules to prevent drift onto organic farms, livestock, pets, and people.  Drift that goes over 100' from the target crop is not acceptable.  If drift like these cases continue the owner could face a total suspension or revocation of organic certification.

A word about Restricted Use Pesticides: "The labeling requirements for restricted use must be followed."  The EPA label review manual states 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."