Published Jun 12, 2012

Pesticide Drift Monitoring Field Day

By Patrick Burke

On May 31, Mustard Seed Community Farm in Ames hosted a Pesticide Drift Monitoring field day. Emily Marquez and Linda Wells from the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) were on hand to explain how farmers and citizens can get a free drift-catcher from PAN, and how to properly set up the device. The drift-catchers were developed by PAN as a low-cost version of professional drift monitoring equipment, designed “[to enable] farmworkers and community members to document and draw attention to otherwise invisible chemical exposures.”

Twenty-five people crowded into the farm’s pack shed to practice setting up ten demonstration drift-catchers. Over the course of  three hours, participants learned how to assemble the device, install the sample tubes, calibrate the pump, and record data before sending the tubes back for analysis. At the end of the workshop several attendees took a drift-catcher with them, to be installed at their home or farm.

While this workshop was a good introduction to the equipment, anyone wishing to collect samples using a drift-catcher will need to pass a certification test to ensure they can set up the equipment properly. If you believe you are being affected by pesticide drift, please contact Linda Wells, Midwest organizer for PAN, at or (612) 284-5023.

Thanks to the Women, Food, and Agriculture Network and Wheatsfield Cooperative for their generous support of this event! Thanks also to Linda, Emily, and PAN.