Source: U.S. Army

When it comes to organic farming, Iowa has one of the largest numbers of certified operations in the nation, but there’s a real danger in the air for those farms and other growers this time of year due to the potential of pesticide drift.

Allowing pesticides to drift is against the law in Iowa, and among those who have been impacted is Andrew Dunham, owner with Grinnell Heritage Farm. He’s had pesticide drift on two of his organic crops, which then require a re-certification process that takes three years.

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Dunham says his asparagus was hit by pesticide drift in the fall of 2013, and the loss of the organic certification will mean $2 to $5 less per-pound until their crop of 2017.

Also at risk of damages from pesticide drift are some home gardens, along with the state’s fruit and vegetable farms. Paul Ovrum, program planner with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, urges owners of such specialty and organic farms to report any pesticide misuse and sign up for the Sensitive Crops Registry.

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Ovrum says the latest count shows more than 2,000 farms and apiaries on the Sensitive Crops Registry statewide.

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