- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014
Pesticide drift is persistent problem for farmers

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The cloud of insecticide that drifted from a neighbor’s corn field onto the asparagus on Andrew and Melissa Dunham’s central Iowa farm cast a shadow over their organic vegetable business.

They say the costs from the incident and resulting loss of organic certification on their asparagus patch for three years will reach about $74,000, and they’re now working with the sprayer’s insurance company.

“We’re a certified organic farm - except for our asparagus,” Melissa Dunham lamented.

Pesticide drift is a serious concern for organic farmers and they’ve come up with several defenses, such as buffer strips. Twelve states are part of a registry of farms that tips off aerial and ground sprayers to areas they need to avoid. The aerial spraying industry and pesticide manufacturers, meanwhile, say they’ve made big strides in controlling drift through pilot education and new technologies.

Organic and specialty crop growers are trying to profit off the rising consumer interest in locally grown, natural foods. But those smaller farms are often islands surrounded by a sea of conventionally grown crops that get sprayed with herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.


Minnesota taking medical marijuana applications

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The state of Minnesota has begun taking applications from entrepreneurs interested in opening medical cannabis manufacturing facilities, and the potential applicants include members of the family that owns Bachman’s Inc., the Minneapolis-based chain of floral and garden shops.

“There are several family members that are interested,” company spokeswoman Karen Bachman said Friday as the application period opened. She declined to identify which family members might apply and stressed that the company itself is not interested.

Garden Fresh Farms of Maplewood, which grows hydroponic herbs and produce year-round, says it’s interested. The company said it has the perfect setup already and is “considering options, costs and partners.”

The Legislature has directed the Minnesota Department of Health to pick two facilities to grow medical marijuana and process it into non-smokeable drugs for patients who suffer from a limited list of conditions, such as AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, ALS and Crohn’s disease.

“It’s not as simple as putting a couple of pots in your basement with some grow lamps,” Assistant Commissioner Manny Munson-Regala said.


Day care worker fired for jury duty gets job back

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A federal judge helped a woman get her job back after she was fired for having jury duty.

The Star Tribune reports (https://strib.mn/1qElXShhttps://strib.mn/1qElXSh ) Lana Wallace told her boss when she showed up for a new job at Zion Early Childhood Center in Hopkins July 28 that she was on call for federal jury duty beginning in August. She was sent home the same day, then fired.

Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis found out. He appointed an attorney from a large Minneapolis law firm to help her, noting that federal law prohibits firings because of jury duty.

Attorney William Manning wrote to the minister of the church that runs the daycare.

Wallace was rehired with back pay on Aug. 22.


Bomb squad summoned in Hibbing after devices found

HIBBING, Minn. (AP) - The Hibbing Police Department called out a bomb squad after a person turned in three plastic tubes filled with what appeared to be gunpowder that had fuses sticking out of them.

WDIO-TV reports (https://bit.ly/WvnLCjhttps://bit.ly/WvnLCj ) the person was helping a friend clean out a shed when they came across the tubes. Authorities say an older relative apparently used them to blow up beaver dams.

The items were brought to the Hibbing Police Department around 11:30 p.m. Friday. The Crow Wing County Bomb Squad disposed of them by 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

Hibbing Police say that anyone who comes across such items, or even if they merely suspect an item is dangerous, should leave it alone and call law enforcement immediately.


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