As organic farmers, we know about the serious risks that pesticides pose to our family’s health, to the Chesapeake Bay, drinking water, and local waterways, but Maryland lacks the information we need about some pesticide use, and the sales of restricted use pesticides. More information about when and where pesticides are used, will allow us to better protect our families and our waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay.
The Maryland Pesticide Network (MPN) is is a grassroots coalition of organizations in Maryland dedicated to protecting the public and the environment from toxic pesticides and promoting healthy alternatives. The Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA) is a member organization of MPN.
The Maryland Pesticide network, and other public health and environmental organizations are working hard to pass a bill creating a simple and cost-neutral, centralized, online, pesticide reporting database in Maryland’s 2013 General Assembly.
The proposed law is about:
- Creating a data base to assess what pesticides are not harming our children and our water, and which ones might be – so that we can make educated choices about pesticide use on farms and lawns.
- Farmers assisting public health officials to better assess the impact of pesticide use on our family health and the health of all Marylanders.
- Agencies, public health professionals and scientists being able to access an online database on what watershed, when and where pesticides are being used.
- Pesticide applicators including commercially licensed businesses, farmers and public agencies, are currently required to keep records on their pesticide usage at their place of business.
- The bill requires annual submission of this data to a centralized system under MDA that can be accessed by government agencies, public health experts, and scientists.Farmers who contract with certified applicators would not need to report their contractor’s pesticide usage- only the pesticide applicator would need to report.
- For farmers who apply their own pesticides, it takes about 2 minutes per pesticide application to report usage via a Smartphone or Ipad app, or to submit the information on computer, or mail in a hard copy to MDA. There is no cost to farmers other than the time it takes them to report.
- The computer system would assemble data by watershed without identifying information about the individual submitter for use in analyzing the regional “load” of pesticides in the environment. The watershed size would typically be 20 square miles or larger.
We ask farmers’ support by signing on to the 2013 Pesticide Information Act_ Farmer _sign-on letter (pdf) to Governor O’Malley and leadership in the Maryland Senate and House chambers, to enact a law that will address the need for pesticide use data collection, so the impact of pesticides can be better understood and managed.
You also can sign on by responding to Ruth Berlin. Please provide your name, name of your farm, e-mail address and phone number. If you would like to do more to help us pass the bill in 2013, please let Ruth know.
Individuals, who are not farmers, are encouraged to sign a petition too.