104 Iowa L. Rev. 1523 (2019)
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The use of pesticides in agriculture is increasing and creating environmental, health, and economic problems. Simultaneously, the nature of the American farm is changing from small, family-owned and operated entities to large industrial-like operations with a separation of ownership and labor. The current legal framework is not equipped to deal with the changing structure of the farm and the damage caused when their pesticide use harms neighbors’ health and property. The system of using state law tort remedies for pesticide abuses must be expanded to include more federal remedies. The government should be allowed to seek damages and require pesticide cleanup using two federal statutes, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide (“FIFRA”). To better utilize the statutes already in place, the definition of farming should expand to reflect the realities of modern farms, and the statutes should be interpreted to include both pesticides and farms within their definitions for liability. The change in the legal framework and thinking will provide additional and complete remedies against pesticide drift abusers and will relieve some of the burden on farmers and those affected by drift. The political and legal timing is ripe to incorporate these modest changes that will benefit the livelihood and viability of rural agricultural communities.

Friday, March 15, 2019