County Farmers Become More Aware of Overspray

Posted at 6:49 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 21:49:18-05

Today the Kern County Farm Bureau and Spray Safe teamed up to host an event that almost 500 local farm owners and workers attended.

While pesticide spray incidents are dramatically down in Kern County, area farm interests continue to meet and discuss ways to further enhance safety for everyone.

This event was meant to educate those on new equipment, better ways to spray and different ways to communicate with other farmers in hopes of avoiding an incident.

Last summer 23 ABC covered a story on a spraying incident that happened in Lost Hills and while it was the only reported incident of the year, it still happened.

Mark Hall, a farm owner and a member of the Spray Safe committee, requires that his employees attend the event because of the stress that it puts on education and decision making.

"The whole reason we started this Spray Safe deal was because there were some drift incidents and we didn't want the legislatures to come in and pass new laws to correct the problem, we wanted to correct the problem," said Hall. "All of a sudden you'll be spraying and a crew will show up right next door, they need to know to stop. Ad they don't need permission from a foreman or the boss. They should just stop and then call somebody. We want to avoid incidents."

Co-chair of Spray Safe, Jeff Rasmussen, said that while avoiding incidents is a top priority for sprayers, their job is getting harder and harder as more people are building and living closer to farmland. Thus, making it an even more important to stress education and outreach. 

"We realize that we need to incorporate the school, because there's more and more schools that are approaching on farmland. We have historical connection, but now we have new schools and so we're trying to connect to bridge the gap," said Rasmussen.

Executive Director of The Kern County Farm Bureau, Beatris Sanders, says that being proactive has been a top priority of theirs for the last several years and that every incident CAN be avoided. 

"Whether it's schools, whether it's neighboring farmers, whether you know it's the season. Bee keepers. With pesticides we have to be careful," said Sanders.

This was the 10th year that this even has happened and every year it has been a success.