3 AM this morning for a half hour - crop duster spraying herbicide,
insecticide or homicide this morning. Circling the helicopter time after
time over my mobile home, just high enough to clear the power lines. Worst
I can remember. There oughta be a law! I had a sore throat and my truck was
well sprayed when I started it at 7 AM. <sigh> I sure wish local property
values would return to normal so I can sell this place!
3 AM ?
There are some rules governing crop dusters.
A bit here:
The link leads to a page discussing minimum flying height over a
congested area. The page is from the Johnson County, IN sheriff's
department. There are probably some rules governing when a crop duster
can spray. One rule might cover wind drift from away from occupied areas.
I guess you're supposed to contact your local FAA office.
I'll Google for the local FAA office (maybe c/o local airpaort?) address
and snail them.
I hesitate though because farming here is done by very large agriculteral
corporations, not private farmers. I'm concerned about retaliation
against one annoying complaining little mobile-home-and-its-lot owner -
me - in this very Republican state and area.
Maybe one if the reasons the values are so low is because they poison the
owners by crop dusting at 3AM. Until that stops, values might not go up
much. I wonder if you have to disclose that when you list.
When SWMBO and I were looking for a house, one very nice one was
recommended by the real estate agent. The price was right and it had just
about every feature we were looking for. Since it was close to the airport,
I called the airport and asked them when their busiest time of day was. I
then scheduled an appointment to look at the house during that time frame.
Very nice house on a very quiet street - until the planes started taking
off. As they flew over the house, the glass in the built-ins next to the
fireplace rattled. We thanked them for the tour and left. The agent gave us
the standard line: "You'll get used to it." I told him that I grew up a
few miles from LaGuardia Airport in Queens, NY. In the 20 years I lived
there I never got used to the planes flying over the house. When we would
watch a home Mets game, we could hear the planes fly over the stadium on
the TV and then hear them fly over our house. When they were landing, it
was house first then TV. 2 for the price of 1. Never got used to it.
What type of retaliation are you concerned about? Examples please.
'Accidental' irrigation spillover from adjacent field flooding my
property? (Has happened before.) Plowing or cultivating close by in the
middle of the night (thet do field work during the night sometimes).
Whatever. There are lots of employees - someone surely could come up with
something annoying or worse.
You put 'accidental' in quotes, implying that you don't believe it was
actually accidental. You then said "has happened before". Are you claiming
that the company has actually retaliated against a home owner and flooded
their property on purpose?
Again, do you believe that the nighttime field work was a form of
retaliation against someone who complained? Could it be that it's nothing
more than standard operating procedure?
I wonder how many of those "lots of employees" would be involved in
deciding how to retaliate against a home owner who filed a complaint
against the company. Is it really possible that the dishonesty and evil
thoughts run company wide? Not only would the retaliation plan have to be
thought up in the first place, someone with boots on the ground would have
to implement it. That means that employees from the top of the food chain
(no pun intended), like the lawyers and management who had to respond to
the complaint, all the way down to guy who let the irrigation overflow or
drove the tractor at night would have to be involved. Even if the
underlings weren't directly involved in the decision, don't you think
someone along the chain would question why they were being told to allow
the irrigation to overflow or to drive a tractor next to someone's home at
Hey, you live there, not me, so you obviously know what's possible better
than I, but it just seems like retaliation would be a very involved process
and could ultimately be very bad for the company if ever discovered. In any
case, good luck.
Reckon the farm operation was there long before the housing development?
I'd be pretty confident there's no "retaliation" at all involved and the
operation is simply doing what's the best they know to do for the
season, crop and problem (whether that be insect/weed/irrigation issue).
And, I'd also be _quite_ sure they wouldn't have deliberately wasted
irrigation water on several grounds the least amongst that being the
cost not to mention likely screwing up a planting schedule or the like
if it was, indeed, an overflood. More likely, however, if it is
actually flood irrigation it was a case of a breach that let it escape.
If it were a center pivot, occasionally one gets stuck and it may be a
while before it gets caught--"stuff happens".
Again, w/o knowing where/who it's impossible to say precisely but it's
highly unlikely to the point of absurdity it's anything deliberately
planned for the nuisance factor aspect; they're just trying to raise a
crop the best they can.
Timing on herbicide applications is particularly important for control
of many species of weeds including factors of maturity of both the weed
and the crop, the temperature and even relative humidity which is one
reason besides the more mundane factor of generally less wind they would
choose to spray at night. There are times where the optimum window may
only be a day or so and if one has a significant number of acres to
cover that might mean only a few hours available to hit that for any
We're out in the middle of essentially nowhere and we do the same thing
on occasion if it's a critical time and we're not even raising delicate
crops such as would be the case in, say, much of CA, some of AZ, etc.,
I'll bet it's good probability those "large agricultural corporations"
are in fact, family corporations. IOW, the odds are pretty good they
_are_ family farms.
You can almost rest assured they're within the EPA/USDA requirements and
they're spraying when they are because it's when conditions are right to
do so. Otherwise, they'd likely have to do even more.
Just think how glad you are that you can go to the local market and buy
inexpensive and quality fruits and veggies and you didn't have to do
anything difficult to have the opportunity.
"Don't complain to the farmer with your mouth full." :)
Pioneer, Monsanto, and Mycogen have seed corn plants nearby. The
seed companies aren't shy about spraying.
They also put up warning signs at all the field entrances. Some
just say it's a secondary entrance. Others have an actual warning after
a field has been sprayed. Phone numbers are posted. I think they also
list the spray used plus some antidote info. The waiting period before
field reentry is listed too.
The detasslers have to wear reflective hats, t shirts or whatever.
It looks a bit weird seeing them in the fields.
I remember when Parathion was used. There was something like a ten
day waiting period. It was used to kill corn borer if memory serves.
Now genetically modified corn can resist corn borer.
Aerial spraying is done with planes here. There is one bi-plane. No
helicopters. The coops use mostly the 4 wheel spray coupes.
Corn and soybeans predominate. I mentioned to a farmer that there is a
lot more milo again. He said one reason is the shattercane issue has be
By the way, I know you know this stuff. I'm guessing most of the
posters haven't actually set foot in a crop field.
Helicopters for spraying are pretty much limited to restricted flight
space locations such as what OP apparently has...and some areas use them
for residential mosquito control and I've seen cases when visiting areas
in CA where they've had emergency control for outbreak of Med fruit fly
in citrus areas...
Planes here widely used altho w/ the advent of no-till virtually every
farmer has one or more spray rig of own to do mostly herbicides rather
than pesticides. The biplane is still around but the newer single-wing
cropdusters are far more prevalent around here...there are about a
half-dozen within 30-mile radius I know; probably another 10 or so with
whom I'm unacquainted. Just ran into one at the post office in town
last two mornings... :) Nothing going on in that arena this time of
Farmers can't apply NH3 here in the fall until November 1 due to
the nitrate levels in the groundwater. There isn't much time before
the first snow or the ground freezes some winters of course. Some of
the tractors look like they have aircraft landing lights compared to my
dad's old 50s era tractors.
The coops have been applying dry fertilizer so they're busy too.
It looks odd watching them running in the snow some years.
I haven't noticed if the feedlots are spreading manure yet. One of
the feedlot owners said he hasn't purchased any commercial fertilizer
for several years now. Rumor has it eating brown snow isn't a good idea.
The liquid runoff goes into catch pits. Farmers usually run that
through center pivots. One advantage is the owners have their own
little ski slopes after digging the pits and don't need a tow like this:
One of the things that really has changed is the size of the farm
grain storage. Some of the bins and grain legs I see look bigger than
the coops had when I was a kid. Straight trucks are being replaced by
semis or pull trailers themselves.
A farmer sometimes will mention what he spent for whatever. The
amount of money you guys spend nowadays still amazes me. Farmers are
like royalty now. One has to be born one or marry one to be one.
We're supposedly out of the drought here in south central/east
Nebraska. The fall didn't seem that wet and we have almost no snow.
The local Natural Resources District is requiring all irrigation wells
to have flow meters installed two years from now. We're close to the
groundwater allocation level. They plan to allow 45 acre inches over a
five year period if allocation is triggered.
Normal annual precipitation is about 26".
Feedlots haul year-round here, but fertilizer application is completed
in August/early September for winter wheat planting starting
mid-September or so and most apply for corn either just ahead of or with
the planting. Anhydrous use here has really fallen out of favor
compared to years ago; it doesn't hang around as well as other forms in
these sandy soils and at the higher input costs, any loss is significant.
Costs for everything have indeed skyrocketed but the size factor makes
up for a lot...when I was a kid we planted with a four row lister at
3-3.5 mph whereas now it's a 24 row (or even larger, one of the big
operators here just debut'ed a 56 row planter this spring; they could
cover a circle in <3 hr) at 5-6 mph--that's >10x the productivity.
We've had such on water for >10 yrs; annual here is about 18". Last
year, however, here at the house we were stretching to break the 10"
mark and only slightly better than that the year before.
The exceptional drought area has shrunken and while we're better off
this year than the previous two, it's still between the extreme and
exceptional here in the SW KS corner, SE CO, OK/TX panhandles and on
south and north. We just can't seem to get anything to set up far
enough south and west again -- it's a period much like the '30s and
early '50s. Did get a 5" snow that actually came w/o wind last weekend
(a truly rare event here, the snow with no wind part, that is) that
helped a little but just 20 mi east was as much as 10" and some areas
had 15". Then again, another 50 mi west and north and they were missed
entirely so much be thankful for what did get...
Your instincts are correct.
The herbicides and pesticides that crop dusters spray can be highly toxic.
Some of this stuff can cause cancer 10 years after exposure.
Yet as a practical matter, there is nothing you can do.
The chemical companies will claim all their products are totally safe.
The crop duster service will tell you they obey all regulations and apply the material as prescribed.
The farmer will just blow you off with some lame comment like "Do you want cheap food or not?"
Personally, I'd move.
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