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Bill proposes that pesticide activity must be public

A bill introduced to the Minnesota House would force farmers and businesses to make their pesticide records public, Minnesota Public Radio said.

The Department of Agriculture tracks the states’ pesticide sales, but it does not keep record of what pesticides are used where or how. Through a public database, the bill would require people to provide notice when they use pesticides, reported MPR.

Rep. Ken Tschumper, DFL-La Crescent and author of the bill, said those using pesticides need to be required to notify their neighbors. Although they are putting the chemicals on their own land, it still affects others. Wind, for example, can be a factor in transporting the pesticides miles away.

Although pesticides spread by wind, or “spray drift,? is illegal, enforcement relies on complaints only. The effects of spray drift can be very damaging, and the database would help the public protect itself, MPR said.