EPA visits North Dakota farms


Planes don’t usually come to mind when you think about farming.

“We’re trying to find the best possible way to spray it so you do not do any damage to your neighbors crop,” said president of the North Dakota Growers Association Jeff Mertz. 

He’s talking about pesticides that are essential in the field– the aerial spray Mertz and his team demonstrated today was for some special guests. 

“We bring in EPA to educate and also show them how we’re implementing their rules, regulations and procedures,” said Mertz.

This in turn lets EPA officials make decisions on those same rules and regulations.

“The understanding that they gain just from seeing this and being here to talk directly with the people using the products is incredibly helpful,” said EPA official Nancy Beck. 

Beck says the biggest thing on the EPA’s radar right now is the herbicide Dicamba. 

“We don’t want to see the incidents that we saw last year in the fields,”said Beck.

But aerial sprays like these could make that difference. 

“What they were doing there was to actually show the droplet size because that has a big impact as far as wind carrying it away from your actual –where you want the actually chemical or pesticide to land,” said Mertz.

“the technology is amazing –the ability to take into consideration into account, wind speed, the ability to measure droplet size based on the angle of your applicators –the speed at which he’s going and you have real time feedback and answer,” said Beck. 

Both Beck and Mertz agree that by working together — the groups can better make decisions that are best for everyone.

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