Wafting poison makes fertile ground for suit in Stearns County

  • Article by: JOSEPHINE MARCOTTY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 26, 2011 - 2:22 PM

Court rules pesticide drifting onto organic farm constitutes trespass.

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redqidJul. 25, 1111:20 PM

I would like to see a lawsuit based on trespassing brought against Monsanto for contaminating crops and especially heirloom crops with their genetically modified crops.

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minn12Jul. 25, 1111:46 PM

Ridiculous. Yet another court making up new law in violation of the separation of powers. The lower court ruled these 'organic farmers' could not prove damages. So where is the proof their crops were ruined? What is the scientific evidence the appeals court used to make this outrageous ruling? I'll bet you any amount these people are radical environmentalists who think a mere trace of pesticides in the wind would ruin their crop. This should be appealed and reversed. If not, next step will be that smokers will be charged with trespassing and be sued. Same for those who wear perfume or cologne. Your neighbor who claims to be 'sensitive' to chemicals will sue you for trespssing and damages. This ruling must be appealed and reversed, or we will lose even more freedoms from out of control courts.

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ogishkemuncieJul. 26, 1112:32 AM

Re: minn12 - Your freedoms do not include the freedom to harm others without consequence. Just because you see no harm, the court sees differently. This seems analogous to having to put up with second-hand smoke when you're a non-smoker or someone who is sensitive to smoke. Organic farmers have a right to exist, too. They put up with repeated violations prior to filing the suit. Organic farming is not some 'fringe' business.

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msinman2002Jul. 26, 11 1:29 AM

Minn 12, If this farmer could make more money selling his crop on the organic market than on the traditional market, the addition of chemical pesticides to his crop does cause him financial damage which he should be compensated for. The simple fact is that this cooperative has not followed Minnesota state guidelines for the application of chemicals on numerous occasions (at least four according to the article) and should be held financially liable for the damage they have negligently caused. If you could demonstrate that your neighbor's perfume causes you significant monetary damage, you could sue them too (I highly doubt this can be demonstrated). This court ruling actually guarantees more personal and private property rights.

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minn12Jul. 26, 11 3:19 AM

@ogishkemuncie:"Re: minn12 - Your freedoms do not include the freedom to harm others without consequence. Just because you see no harm, the court sees differently." minn12 says: the trial court found NO damages, and correctly stated that Minnesota law does not recognize trespassing by 'particulate matter'. Why would the trial court find that the plaintiffs could not prove any damages? It is hard to believe that acres upon acres of this organic farm were somehow ruined by incidental pesticide contact over the winds. Let's see the scientific proof of contamination and at what levels? It simply does not pass the smell test. The appeals court seems to have made up a new Minnesota law, which is NOT their job. If there is a problem like this, then the legislature needs to write new laws, NOT the courts.

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mankato58Jul. 26, 11 6:17 AM

The big question not answered in the lawsuit is how do you determine who is responsible for the overspray or drift? It isn't always the adjacent field. And sometimes there are multiple adjacent fields sprayed at similar time. I have seen drift patterns that matched timing and weather conditions to pinpoint exactly where it came from. However, I have seen evidence of drift that was unexplainable. Mark up another cash cow for attorneys and another insurance premium increase.

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fishheadJul. 26, 11 6:17 AM

Property rights stop at the property boundary. No one should have the right to 'dump' on your land whether it's pesticides or other any garbage even if it doesn't cause financial damage. It obviously caused financial damages to this farm. We'll see if big agriculture wins out over property owners in the end. They already won when it comes to genetic contamination because of our corrupt way of financing elections.

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hereistandJul. 26, 11 6:27 AM

I am a Ron Paul conservative and this is great great news. Because of the destructive economics of crop subsidies, tax breaks, and corporate America, it is very hard to get food that is good for you anymore. Everything is biased against the organic farmer and yet they fight on despite the odds. Thank you.

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beegirlJul. 26, 11 6:45 AM

Anybody ever see what this crap they spray on crops does to the honeybees? Keep it up corporate farms and we'll all end up starving.

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halfabubbleJul. 26, 11 7:02 AM

@ mankato58: It looks pretty clear that the Co-Op sprayed pesticides illegally multiple times (in windy conditions), despite being made aware that what they were doing was illegal.

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