In the week leading up to a public hearing in Tulare, Calif. on proposed changes to pesticide applications near schools, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA) and Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) called on members to testify against the plan.
About 20 growers from both organizations gathered to provide public comment opposing the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) proposed draft rule that would prohibit many crop protection applications within a quarter mile of a school site and day care facility.
Additionally, the proposed rule would force growers to provide an annual notification to the school site of all potential applications they expect to make over the following year as well as a 48-hour notification to the school site providing a 12-hour window of when and where the application will be made.
CCGGA provided public comment adamantly opposing the regulation as it not only limits the flexibility that growers need to make real-time decision for applications; the regulation will further propagate fear, misunderstanding and undue concern surrounding crop protection tools and the method of applications.
Comments from the grower community included points of how it will impact their operation and limit their ability to produce, however most importantly, growers shared their relationship with adjacent schools and how they take pride in the communication, coordination and trust they have developed.
Many shared of how their children and now grandchildren attend those very schools so as responsible stewards of the land it is their duty to protect human health when growing their crop.
These comments and others were critical in the public hearing process as the activists group present at the meeting want the quarter-mile buffer zone extended to one mile with round-the-clock enforcement.
There is one public hearing left on this issue schedule for Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. with written comments being accepted until Dec. 9. If you would like more information or would like to sign on to our opposition letter you can do that at http://www.ccgga.org/industry-call-to-action/.