DE Growers First On East Coast To Use DriftWatch - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

DE Growers First On East Coast To Use DriftWatch

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DOVER, Del. - The Delaware Department of Agriculture says growers in the first state are the first on the East Coast able to take advantage of a new online tool that helps protect sensitive crops from pesticides that may drift due to wind or weather.

According to reports, Delaware is the newest participant in the DriftWatch program, which allows growers of certain crops or commercial beekeepers to alert pesticide applicators of sensitive areas before they spray. Officials say the Delaware Department of Agriculture regulates pesticide applicators through a rigorous training and certification process, registers all pesticides used in Delaware, and investigates complaints about pesticide drift or improper application. Drift on to neighboring parcels of land can reportedly occur because of high winds, certain weather conditions, or application errors.

The department says the free DriftWatch program applies to such uses as commercial beehives, certified organic crops, fruits, grapes, nursery crops, greenhouses, pumpkins, melons, tomatoes and vegetables. The program is reportedly not designed for homeowners or for sites smaller than a half-acre.

Once the locations are registered online, pesticide applicators can reportedly then check the DriftWatch site to map out sensitive areas near their application sites and take precautions to avoid drifting onto those areas. The department says enrolling a sensitive site does not guarantee that pesticides are not sprayed near a property, but instead aims to improve awareness of pesticide use and reduce instances of drift exposure.

Delawareans can go to the Department of Agriculture website for more information and to register.

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