Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Maine BPC Report – Fall 2010

Maine BPC Reports \ BPC – Fall 2010

Refining the Pesticide Application Notification Registry

For the past few months, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) has been accepting public comments on the new notification registry for pesticide applications made with aerial and air carrier equipment. As it stands now, any resident of Maine within 1/4 mile of agricultural pesticide applications (or 500 feet of fruit or Christmas tree farms) that use aerial or air carrier technology can be notified before the application. Anyone can sign up for the registry, although the deadline has passed for this growing season.

This rule became state law through legislation earlier this year mandating that the BPC implement it. In addition to putting the registry into action, the board was tasked with gathering public comments on the scope, operation and equipment types to be included in a comprehensive registry, the feasibility of using an automated notification system for people on the registry and of land managers posting signs where pesticides are applied, and distances where neighbors should qualify for notification.

MOFGA has attended and commented at many of the information gathering sessions held throughout Maine. Our stance has been that the registry should be comprehensive and include all outdoor pesticide application sectors, without focusing solely on agricultural uses. This would include bringing biting fly, forestry, and pesticide-reliant business sectors back under the purview of the registry.

As MOFGA’s associate director Heather Spalding said in her testimony, “Hundreds of people in Maine have signed up for the registry expecting to be notified regardless of the context in which aerial or air carrier spraying happens.” This is evident from the large number of people on the registry who live in urban areas or far from agricultural property.

MOFGA also commented that signage should be placed at the obvious entrance points to a field so that the public is aware of pesticide spraying activity as well as the existence of the registry as a means of notification.

One contentious issue has involved how far neighbors can be from farms and still be notified of pesticide applications. Because MOFGA believes that the distances should be based on the type of equipment used, we recommended that the board keep the 1/4-mile distance for aerial and air carrier equipment, adopt 500 feet for ground-based motorized equipment, and 250 feet for non-motorized equipment. These distances are used for registries or buffer zones in other states, and they seem workable for all stakeholders.

The board will make recommendations based on public comments and input from the public health sector. Visit to view meeting minutes, dates for coming meetings, and other news.

MOFGA would love to hear your thoughts about the registry and its functionality. Email with your ideas.

Product Registrations

In May the BPC approved a Special Local Need (SLN) registration for use of DuPont Express Herbicide with TotalSol (EPA Reg. No. 352-632) in lowbush blueberries. This product was originally granted a SLN in 2008, with an expiration date in December 2009, so that the BPC could evaluate groundwater effects where the product was being used. The board did not conduct any water quality sampling, however, but did unanimously approve the indefinite registration of the herbicide, made at the request of University of Maine Cooperative Extension and DuPont.

Pesticide Application Rule Violations

At its May meeting the BPC unanimously approved a consent agreement including a $300 fine with Old Marsh Country Club in Wells for violations uncovered during a spot inspection, including applying a fungicide on the golf course without proper recordkeeping, failure of the applicator to wear proper personal protective equipment, and failure to post a notification of the application for the golfing public.

– Katy Green