Organic and bee farms in danger of herbicide spray: farmers

Justin Dickie
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ROSLIN - Rick Cheeseman and Jerry Draheim are protesting to maintain their livelihoods.

These two Roslin men were amongst the dozen or so residents at a potential aerial herbicide spraying zone yesterday protesting in an effort to keep the spray away from their area.

ROSLIN - Rick Cheeseman and Jerry Draheim are protesting to maintain their livelihoods.

These two Roslin men were amongst the dozen or so residents at a potential aerial herbicide spraying zone yesterday protesting in an effort to keep the spray away from their area.

Cheeseman owns Pinnacle Farms, the largest certified organic farm in Cumberland County. If the spray were to land on his crops, he could lose his certification.

He said the spray, Vision, can travel up to 30 kilometres in five kilometre per hour winds, and with his farm located much closer than that to the spray zone, he's concerned for the well being of his animals as well as his way of life.

"We have endangered heritage breeds. They are all grass-based. They live on the hay the property produces," he said. "They have nothing in their entire gene stream going back hundreds of years that provides any kind of buffer for this stuff. It will have maximum impact on their systems and we'll have no idea why our cows are sick.

"If we had've known this was allowed on such a widespread basis, we would not have located here."

Draheim, a local beekeeper, said the herbicide is just another stress on his bees, which can hinder their production and even kill them. He also said the herbicide can contaminate the honey.

"Honey used to be a pure, natural food. Because of practices like this, it no longer is. (Vision) is just another contaminant we're ingesting into our bodies, either through the water or through our food or through the air," Draheim said. "It's affecting our health. Even though they say it's perfectly safe, it's not."

jdickie@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Pinnacle Farms

Geographic location: ROSLIN, Cumberland County

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