In 2018, the Washington legislature passed Senate Bill 6529, which would have required a four-day notice before pesticides could be applied on Washington farmland. That legislation did not sit well with farmers and farm lawmakers, and in response, Moses Lake Representative Tom Dent worked across the aisle to create a task force that would take a look at the issue of pesticide applications. Dent said the Committee that came from that task force, the Pesticide Application Safety Committee, PASCO, sat down and chatted with the state Department of Ag, L&I and a host of other stake holders.
“We educate applicators a lot, but we should educate our farm workers to what’s going on out there, anytime there’s a spray operation, what their rights are and they need to be doing, to move out of the way, so we don’t have issues with human exposure.”
Dent said the Committee is also looking at ways to improve application methods and perhaps equipment, especially for smaller operations across the state. Dent said with he and Senator Judy Warnick both involved in the legislation creating PASCO [SB 5550], the farm industry will have a voice when it comes to the future of pesticide application in Washington.
“This was truly a bipartisan effort to take what was originally not good legislation and to turn it into a positive.”
For more of our conversation with Representative Dent, as well as an update on the Aerial Application of Herbicides in Forestry Committee, listen to our raw interview with the Moses Lake Republican: