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Court says pesticide drift can be considered trespassing

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Court of Appeals says it can count as trespass under the law when pesticide drifts from one farm to another.

The appeals court revived a lawsuit by organic farmers Oluf and Debra Johnson against the Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Co. They allege the co-op has repeatedly sprayed pesticides onto other fields that have drifted onto theirs, preventing them from selling their crops as organic.

The decision says no previous Minnesota case has addressed whether unwanted pesticide drift from a targeted field to an adjacent organic farm can constitute a trespass. The appeals court held Monday that it can under some circumstances. Courts in other states have made similar rulings.

The appeals court sent the organic farmers' lawsuit back to a lower court for further action.

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