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Dept. of agriculture paid me a visit

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by BRANDMEL, May 25, 2005.


    BRANDMEL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    I was servicing one of my monthly customers today and noticed a gentleman watching me from across the street. It is a fairly large yard, so by the time I finished applying all the dry products and spraying my liquid mixes about 45 minutes had elapsed. I was winding up the hoses and the gentleman started to approach me. I thought to myself "great a bonus customer" Boy was I wrong. My trailer is clearly marked non-toxic/organic and the man asked me what pesticides I had been applying? as he flashed his badge. I told him "none!" He was shocked! He asked "how come you are wearing the protective gear? Why did you make 4 different applications?" I told him "I hate getting my hands sticky"and "the customers like there lawns green". He wanted to see the labeled products I was using ,and I said "There are no labels" He looked at the products and said "that's cattle feed and that liquid smells like fish! and that's molasses!" He continued to tell me he had been in the feed business years ago, and had never thought about using feed on turf. He was amazed at what I was doing! I had a fantastic visit with him and we talked about several products I was using. He was fascinated with my potato gluten spray. He took down my state applicator license ID and wished me good luck. I was glad to see the State finally pay me a visit, I often wondered how that would go. :nono:
  2. green_mark

    green_mark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 494

    Remember these initials. Don't be surprised if you get a cease and desist
    and a fine.

    They commonly enjoy getting you to talk and then committing to something you should not have.

    I see that based on what you said this provided him with the leverage to get you for unlicensed fertilizers, and potential pesticide claims.

    Please when a DOA official speaks to you be polite but answer only the questions he asks and for god's sake read the states laws on fertilizer registrations and pesticidial claims and products.

    If you need help I am happy to assist. Make sure you are in compliance with ALL laws.
  3. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    What is the Potato gluten for?

    I have also tried a fish fertilizer...never again..I couldn't possible dry heave for that amount of time again...just thinking about it makes my stomach muscles hurt.
  4. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    Canadian Game Department has made me leary of anybody asking to many questions. A few years ago i was in Canada on a hunting trip. We had a pack of dogs in the box on the back of the truck and drove into a dump to drop off some trash. The Game Warden was there when we dorve up. He asked to see everybodies license and then talked for a few minutes. Then told us have a nice day. About a week later when we got back home to the states there was a ticket in the mail from the Game Warden for hunting in the dump. Mind you, no one got out of the truck and no dogs where turned loose. there was a summons to appear in a court or we could send $800 to pay the fine and not go to court. We chose option number three. We didnt pay the fine and we didnt go to court and dont intend to go back.

    Like someone else has already said, dont volunteer any information, They either have to charge you or leave you alone. They are supposed to know what they are looking for, let them find it.
  5. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 530

    Hi Mark, when I've appeared in local town courts for ?........I usally discribe the cultural practices 1st, followed by use of "Neutrient supplements" and for the most part "Repellants"......this has usally gotten me a quick meeting in chambers, followed by "Doing a Great Job".....any imput you have would be appreciated as my company has followed the "Grey Areas" since our inception. I gave up my states pesticide Lic. when I became Organic 15 yrs ago......Regards Saxon :)
  6. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    even repellants are classified a pesticide under FIFRA
  7. green_mark

    green_mark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 494

    Glad to hear you have survived. I have spent literally 100's of 1,000's fighting the EPA and the States. My crime? Trying to establish standards for companies who do not desire to use traditional pesticides.

    I have been in state court, private meetings with state officials where they told me I was the scourge of the industry and everyone needed protection from me, then in front of my lawyer we were offered a way out.

    Hire one of us in the evenings to consult with you on how to stay in compliance. Interesting?

    I refused and then they brought in federal EPA where they wanted me to sign a "confession" of crimes committed against the people. It begins to smell of a form of government that our country usually invades to liberate the "people".

    I studied the law and forced the EPA into a federal court. They had 4 lawyers and a host of support staff and it was just me and my lawyer.

    At the end of them presenting their case we never even had to put on a defense. Basically, their last witness said something to the effect of. "I know I wrote this part of the law but it not what I intended" They judge ask us if we would all like to stop wasting his time and go settle our differences.

    The end result. The EPA has changed how they view what our industry does and is making reasonable steps to correct the ambiguous nature of a law that even the writers could not explain.

    Currently we enjoy a positive relationship with the EPA. We have 5 labels of selective weed controls, non selective weed controls, insect controls, animal repellents and grub repellents that have been cleared to be exempted products.

    My emails and label submissions are responded to usually within minutes to hours. I would say that the EPA, I and this industry are moving ahead together to clarify the FIFRA Acts sec (25b) requirements. We are also working to maintain correct claims for these products and attempt to keep some people who are selling products with deceptive marketing/ingredients from harming our new future for bio-control products that provide for a safer environment for all of us.
  8. rbeitz

    rbeitz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    Hey Green Mark,

    I be very interested in learning more about your selective weed control products, and where they can be purchased.

  9. green_mark

    green_mark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 494

  10. ndunn

    ndunn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47


    I talked with the DOA office in Washington State today, and they told me no license needed for my program. No pesticides/no herbicides though. I thought for sure there would be something, but they said have at it. Good to hear you were open with them though, if we take the approach of only answering the yes/no questions, it will bring the wrath down upon us. Better to offer full disclosure and find out you need an additional license than to try and hide your practices and lose your business license. Not that there's anything to hide with animal feed anyway.

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