Monday, April 8, 2013

MDA recommends growers sign up for Driftwatch™ prior to spring planting

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Before spring fieldwork starts in earnest, growers of organic and other sensitive crops should consider signing up for the Driftwatch™ registry offered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).

By registering with Driftwatch™, farmers identify the locations of their sensitive crops and pastures using the point and click features of Google Maps®. Commercial fertilizer and pesticide applicators can then check the database and take special care to avoid organic land and other sensitive crops/forages when they are applying chemicals in the vicinity of these crops.

In Minnesota, growers may register grapes and other fruits, vegetables, Christmas trees, and certified organic crops and pasture. The program is not intended for homeowners; participants must have at least 1/2 acre of a certified organic or other qualifying crop in commercial production.

“Driftwatch™ is a free and voluntary program,” said Meg Moynihan, administrator of MDA’s organic and diversification programs. “We offer it to help landowners and pesticide applicators communicate better – and to prevent problems before they happen.”

Driftwatch™ is offered by MDA through a partnership with Purdue University. For more information or to register land, go to