State agriculture officials investigating spike in pesticide complaints

The Missouri Department of Agriculture says it is investigating 115 complaints regarding pesticides in four southeast Missouri counties.

MDA Division Director Judy Grundler said Thursday the 115 complaints have come since June 22. For comparison’s sake, Grundler said the department usually receives 75 to 80 pesticide complaints for the whole state in a typical year.

Grundler told lawmakers that the investigations encompass about 40,000 acres and more than 400 fields.

The MDA testified it is getting reports of damage to tomatoes, watermelons, peaches and peanuts. There have been seven MDA investigators working in the Bootheel.

State Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, who represents the southeast Missouri region says he plans to introduce a bill in January to increase penalties on those who illegally spray pesticides, increasing the fines from $1,000 to $10,000 per field.

Read more: Missourinet

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