Driftwatch will help protect organic farms and other pesticide sensitive sites

Organic farmers in Michigan need to log on to http://www.driftwatch.org to identify the locations of their organic farms so they will be listed on the Certified Organic Farm registry for 2012.

Organic farms located nearby conventional farms stand a risk of pesticide drift. Commercial pesticide applicators that otherwise might not be aware of adjacent organic farms can refer to the Certified Organic Registry coordinated by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). By using the registry, they can locate pesticide sensitive fields in their area and take extra precaution to prevent pesticide drift.

In the past, organic farmers registered their farm using a paper form. For 2012, organic farmers will be using a website called driftwatch. This appears to be an excellent communication tool. After organic farmers list their farms, commercial pesticide applicators will be able to log on to the website and easily identify existing organic farms in their service area. This same online system will be used for other pesticide sensitive areas such as apiaries, vineyards and specialty crop fields.

Organic farms can be listed now for 2012. It can be updated if new fields are added. Information is required to be reentered every year. Organic farmers without access to the Internet or who need assistance can contact Dan Rossman at the Gratiot County MSU Extension office at 989-875-5233 or Antonio Castro-Escobar at MDARD at 517-373-6350.

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