Defective Pesticides & Spray Drift Crop Damage


Humans have been using pesticides to protect their crops for approximately 3000 years. Since the World War II era, both the technology and use of pesticides have grown exponentially, so that today pesticide manufacturing comprises a multi-billion dollar industry and is responsible for much of the enhanced productivity of American agriculture. There are over five billion pounds of pesticides applied in the United States each year. Although pesticide use and technology have changed greatly, our society is still grappling with the same issues that challenged mankind’s efforts to use of poison constructively for centuries that is balancing efficacy and safety. As always, the goal is to apply pesticides in such a manner that they eradicate unwanted insects, weeds and plant disease without harming the target crop, off-target crops, or humans who are exposed to pesticides either through application, off-target drift or residues remaining on the target crops.

Defective Pesticides and Pesticide Spray Drift – Urgency

If you have suffered injury or loss related to pesticide drift or defective pesticides, it is critical to contact the proper regulatory authorities in a timely fashion. In Arkansas, this includes the Arkansas State Plant Board, which has primary regulatory authority over pesticide applications. In some instances, where the harm is to plants or crops, it may be advisable to contact your local county agent with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. If you have suffered an acute exposure to pesticides, you should consult a physician and the Arkansas Poison and Drug Information Center.

If you have suffered considerable injuries, it may be advisable to conduct an independent investigation separate from the investigation conducted by the State Plant Board. Time is of the essence in conducting such investigations, since hard evidence of pesticide exposure and drift patterns may be fleeting. Regardless, it is important to take note that the Plant Board is not authorized to take action on your behalf to recover any monetary compensation for damages you may have suffered. In addition, the State Plant Board’s focus is whether there was an illegal or improper application of the pesticide. The Plant Board does not document the extent of the damages you have suffered. Therefore, it is important that you document the extent of your injuries independently.

If you have suffered significant injuries, it is critical to choose an attorney with the requisite experience in this area. Pesticide litigation can be complex, requiring familiarity with the relevant federal and state agencies, knowledge of the myriad state and federal regulations applicable to pesticides, expertise with the relevant technical sciences, and quick access to qualified experts to investigate and document injuries.

McMath Woods Experience with Defective Pesticides

Our firm has significant experience in all aspects of pesticide litigation. We have represented farmers whose crops have been damaged, destroyed or rendered unmarketable by off-target drift as well as farmers whose crops have been injured by defectively designed or manufactured pesticides that the farmers intentionally applied to their crops. We also have represented individuals who have suffered illnesses, adverse health reactions or other personal injuries from exposure to pesticides and other chemicals and homeowners who have lost gardens, trees and landscaping to pesticide drift. In a crowded world, the inherent nature of pesticides being what they are, there are inevitably failures in the system that will turn a neighbor into a victim. While there are benefits to pesticides, it is necessary that they be used, marketed and applied responsibly, and where they are not, important that those harmed are properly compensated. Too many people think that such collateral damage is not avoidable and are inclined to accept the loss. This can perpetuate a destructive process that no one should endorse.