Too many crop dusters are accidentally missing their targets and spraying poisonous pesticides where they're not supposed to go, killing crops and sickening farmers' neighbors.
Indiana Public Media reports that three-quarters of farm pesticide violations in the state involve what is euphemistically called "drift." That is, the chemicals don't land where they're intended to. From the report, which is the first in a three-part series on the problem:
[Farmer Brett] Middlesworth grows about 300 acres of tomatoes each year, but last summer he saw about a tenth of his yield damaged by a single instance of pesticide drift.
It happened halfway through the growing season. His neighbor was spraying a soybean field with Roundup herbicide. The wind picked up and carried the spray across the property line and onto Middlesworth’s tomatoes.
As Roundup targets broadleaf weeds, and tomatoes are broadleaf plants, the area closest to his neighbor was a total loss. ...