Farmers, conservationists and regulators gathered in Hood River Thursday for a workshop on reducing pesticides in Oregon’s waterways.
Farmers in eight watersheds in Oregon have volunteered to have regulators test the water near their farms for pesticides, and then reduce the pesticides they use.
They’ve formed groups called Pesticide Stewardship Partnerships. In some watersheds, the partnerships have reduced pesticide use by thousands of pounds.
Cherry grower Ken Bailey joined a partnership in The Dalles in 2002. He says voluntary actions now could help avoid more costly regulations later.
“We knew that somewhere down the line we were going to have to make the correction and the sooner we identify it and work on it the more cost effective our treatments were going to be and the less trouble we might get into down the road.”
The workshop in Hood River Thursday aimed to expand the number of farmers participating in the voluntary partnerships.