« Reveal

Farm Wars (Rebroadcast)

2019-08-31 | 🔗

The herbicide dicamba is causing a civil war in farm country. Plus, honeybee rustling in California’s almond groves. Lastly, sulfur and its link to asthma in children.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey. It is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restore we, about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it is our duty to fight attacks like this, but fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs, are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars? Luckily, we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative
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Some turf battles playing out and farm country. The first stories about a Herbert I used to get rid of aggressive weeds and sweeping feels it's called the camera and it sparked civil war pitting neighbour against neighbour, like these farmers, an artist Never in my twenty years of I received a product, tear friendships apart family support, so Forty billion dollar business. In the? U S, mulberry always tell me when you back a man in a corner and Carnegie his livelihood dangerous and bad things can happen on both sides. As this year, soybean prices have taken a beating because the? U S trade war with China, China was one of our biggest soybean customers, but now its turn to Brazil and other countries? American farmers are desperate for anything that can help them keep their profits up
which is why we kill like that Canada is attractive, but he is the problem that camp is blamed for drifting to other fields and damaging crops on near by farms. State Department of Agriculture report that I can be heard some three point: five million acres and twenty seventeen petitions losses. A death blamed on an argument over the camera and some pretty heated rhetoric The question is, then: die. Camera farmer, his his american dream. Greater are more important than the amount dream of the others I'd say, wandering should not kill another dream over the last year, Porter Loretta Williams in tray cave from the podcast us and them have been followed.
The Die Campbell WAR and orphans or farmers. There are asking themselves. Where's lie between doing what's good for my business and doing what's good. For my neighbors might Macartney looks Exhaust It's early November and the false been rainy and wet, which has made it hard for him to harvest crops. This where we need to be harvesting, entailed a danger light over? That's not normal, looking MIKE's family farms, thirteen thousand, acres of soya beans and Rice and Northeast Arkansas along the Mississippi Delta, Rain is wide and slap. You can he rose and rows of crops all the way to the horizon for Monsieur RO soybeans for export overseas, where their use this feed for pigs and chickens. This Bush rain isn't good for my ex crops, but it's been great for we may travel find one. So I can show you, as we drive by field after field, might points to weeds popping
in and around his soybean rose. All these are pretty much pigweed zone and say that red red, This is one right here. Pigweed is easy to see. Sticking up inciting failed. It tall and shaped like a feathery Christmas tree. Farmers college Satan's we'd, because it grows big and fast crowding out the crops each plant produces hundreds of thousands of seeds. Since the nineteenth seventies farmers use the chemical glue if you say to fight pigweed. Most people know it by its commercial name round up and farmers use it another Monsanto product, a genetically modified soya bean. That's listen to the herb, but over the years, pig weeds become resistant to life or say so. Farmers were happy when something new came along these are soybean plants without we'd management programme. Weeds will compete array Prince water light and nutrients high.
These plants of high yields. That's why we created in May twenty. Sixteen, the EPA approve new formulations of a chemical called thy camera to use against. Agreed several companies, including Monsanto started manufacturing it Monsanto also develop genetically modified soya bean that wouldn't be harmed by de the following spring might planted Monsanto's new soybean. And spread? One of the new Die Campbell formulations won his weeds. He was delighted with his harvest. We ve got the best average measuring cry wherever seventy one bushel a previous bass was like sixty two and were able to cleaner remains a bus. Brantome or wait free cross a whole ranch. But in the summer of twenty seventeen as farmers, like might begin to use, die camper,
ups, we're getting damaged. The Arkansas plant boy was flooded with complaints. They sent investigators out into the fields. The diagnosis the crinkled leaves were consistent with damage from thy Canada. The board decided to set limits on the use of dyke, Amber it set a cut off date April, fifteenth for spraying the chemical. This was to protect fruits and vegetables that flower early and can be damaged by the Airbus. Our early and can be damaged by the herbicides but likes just getting his soybeans in the ground around then make sure understand so because of the April fifteenth cut off you didn't applied. About this past year. Nothing and then known, applaud and eighteen. Seventeen wall, the wall but an eighteen? Now we couldn't we were, we were locked out, so we applaud it all the way up till the cut off date, MIKE's become a key player in the
a camera debate in Arkansas and he's rallied more than three hundred like minded farmers to protest. That cut off date life in his home and a wealthy subdivision. We said at the families, dining room table or a disadvantage and orange all I've got pressure start getting really want to talk to me. This is MIKE Scatter, thick binder of material he's collected to bolster his Prodi camp opposition. He points two maps and graphs that show how farmers and other states can spread. I can't more liberally than Arkansas farmers. You ve got Missouri rider to ignore them, He was like Jean fifteenth you right. Here you can break up until July. The Mississippi right here, no cut off period MIKE wants to be able to get more profitable yields like farmers in those other states and like he had in two thousand
Seventeen. Seventy were born, go on wine. I feel that there remain issue makes us once he and his other proto Campbell farmers found out that they could hurt other people's crops They wanted to be able to slow down and use it more carefully we're. Never in a situation we what harm or neighbours we would never do anything intentionally. Do that no farmer, I know ever would but is. Does MIKE wants to spray other farmers, especially those who grow fruits and vegetables dont want it near them. I'm five April our generation for, We raised vegetables are one of the larger organic farms in the south. It's raining and Sean People's can't get any harvesting done today. I want to buy. So we had over to his office array, purpose nail factory in Central Arkansas
Sean grows organic crops for large companies like cost co, they use his sweet potatoes for their house brand potato chips. If thy camera got on his organic crops, he'd have to plough them under unless he could sell them as non organic for much less money this. Could put him out of business like I don't care what you guys. They attack, am, I don't get it on me. That has always been- I don't think it should be here, but I can't stop it, but you stay away from me If you get on me and I can't sell my product, can I go out of business and I don't have anything left to live for and I'm going to lose my house, and I'm every Ike her that I found my grandfather owned. You fix a say only saturnine, that's what happened. The MIKE Wallace The guy he mentioned MIKE Wallace was a farmer who suspect, The decamp had damages crops. He got into a
differentiation with a worker from a neighbouring farm about it. They got into a scuffle. I Wallace was shot and killed. This wasn't twenty sixty Finally, there are any other examples of this kind of violence, but while, as is done, cast a shadow over the whole thy camera debate in Arkansas. It's made it hard for farmers to talk about them princess over whether or not to use the weed killer. Dave will be new MIKE walls and was troubled by his death. Willie and his sons grow soybeans, as well as cotton and peanuts in North EAST Arkansas workers fix a peanut. Machine as Willie walks me around the area. He tells me his family has been farming for five generations, and it bothers him to see how folks seem to be choosing themselves over their neighbours, because economics is Drive,
rather than the morals. If we tried to teach our children that rat rat wronged wrong, but since there is so much in this in this business, that is beyond our control, Isn't really what we're seeing is that people are trying to control what they can? Yes, that's true, that's true. But even though a meal I could spread that cabin and make a cleaner crop more economically and cheaper, but I'm not gonna do that to my neighbour that growing crops of sensitive I'm just not going to do that and in you have other people that no feel that way. More about looking out for me and my only. We'll do says his own soybean crop was damaged by thy cabin two thousand. Seventy he's suing Monsanto.
there are two sides to this issue pro and anti dyke. Amber in the middle of the scientists for the past couple of years, you ve, been raising the alarm about dyke, Amber remember that Canada is really knew its accounts, it's been around for more than forty years, and Everyone knew it had. A tendency to evaporate and drift for Baldwin's a weed scientists in Arkansas. Since the nineteen seventies. He says he was surprised. When he heard a new version of De Camp was in the pipeline story talking about in two thousand and eleven sayin Unless the companies know something about that game, but that I don't this, it's gonna, be the biggest train wreck agriculture's they. Yet when he talks about how they can to move away from where was spread a lot of farm get mad. It doesn't help the Baldwin's, an expert witness in several thy Campbell lawsuits. Bottom asked what about a foot whose planting Monsanto's, Decamp, tolerant soybean, but his knee
Isn't it Does he asked Monsanto about this? They said is not going to be a problem because our technique, Oh gee one is gonna, be superior and everybody a planet. I mean the ones that don't reckon. As a superiority and planet. When I get tired of getting drifted on by their neighbours by applying Weldon says he thinks this was part of Monsanto's business strategy and, and I think they feel like it would be just like Rounded Brady Ready that within a two or three year period, a hundred per cent of our soybean acreage would be planted. The Dac Amber, tolerant, veins. The problem with go. Why there has been set, says for lawsuits recently alleging round of causes cancer and some people who use it and a lot more. Those are the legal pipeline. But the combination of roundup, spray and round a tolerant seeds has been a huge money maker, the company undressed.
Anybody wants the same products Amber and I can be tolerant seed, their aiming to put the technique de in the hands of farmers around the world, when we ask Company to comment on the controversy surrounding December, they said where just here for the farmers this hearing really save comments. No written comments we receive may record its February and the Arkansas Plant Board is holding hearing the Prodi. The camera faction, once the board to reconsider the cut off date for spraying they want a later date, so they can use decamp afar into the growing season them it is in a large ballroom of a hotel in little rock. The stakes are high. The tension in the room is palpable. There are farmers, in genes and work boots and a sign possible number of lawyers and businesses also in the house, are a good number of people wearing buttons from the Audubon society and Sierra Leone
months. It was bought out last year by bear crop Science and they're here in full force senior. Vice President Scott Partridge tells the board there shouldn't be any cut off date for spray. The proposed regulations are going to create restrictions that, depending upon the location of crops and whether could actually take this tool out of the hands of the very growers you're trying to help our urge you to reject the proposed restrictions here, minds the board that farmers and other states are seeing the highest yields and cleanest fields in two decades. In fact, Texas in Georgia, right now are submitting request the EPA for greater use of decamp products in their states. We try to talk to pirates during break spent. Team. Won't talk to us the meeting last until early evening. Many
in the room appear glassy I'd after hearing scientists testify about things like volatile zation drift and atmospheric loading. In the end, the board votes to extend the cut off date for sprang to may twenty fifth giving product and the farmers of victory time to use the herb aside during the growing season Sean Peoples, the organic farmer leaves the meeting before the vote. He could see where things are headed and he's had enough, but there's more historians, they warned us also they're, not gonna. Protect me I'm gonna protect myself landlord, nor realize a very very good chance, somebody's in Rwanda dead over this just like my glass and what Lastly, when you came here, we're going to find ourselves whatever it takes We feel we can do to defend ourselves. As are normally fats. Orphans rose, guarantee it
guarantee and budgeting monument in the world, the whom will be fast. Arguments and there must be a mother dealing with careful Last fall, I had coffee with an old farmer. He told me about a grower and his community who had cancer, and that five or six farmers helped bring in his cotton at harvest. He said if people get in trouble, they get help it's a brotherhood, but the decanter debate makes me think that old, neighborliness and sense of trust. Has eroded some soybean farmers in Arkansas were hesitant to use Monsanto's DE chambre tolerance seed. However, this year many of those same for This probably aren't going to plant them just to defend themselves against neighbours who plan to spray.
Glad you might have MIKE Mccurdy he's the Prodi Campbell soybeans who told us he hadn't sprayed when he wasn't supposed to? I stopped by to see him again. I got some tough questions asked occur. I clear a spot on the corner of his desk and lay down a ninety nine page report written by a plant board investigator This is my business in and by the way, when I got the report from a farmer who made a freedom of Information ACT, request to the plant board for records of any grower suspected of violating the April fifteenth die camp. A ban MIKE's was one of them. So what can you tell me that,
Knowing about it back in July, two thousand eighteen, a plant board inspector performing routine monitoring drove by MIKE's fields. He noticed wilted drooping piglet among healthy soybeans. It was a sign that die camper had been sprayed sorry, asking. What is my response so yeah Don't really have a response to it. I should like color photos from the report dated months after he told me stop sprang, but if this would happen I thought it was hot with I can buy mean how how would that be? How would it be with her if it's as hot as what they say it is, could have come from anywhere? That's what France or LIVE Mike says that I can but could have drifted onto his yields from a near by farm, or it could remain on that wilting pigweed, two and a half months after he last sprayed. I ask if
it would still be standing that long. He says absolutely any scientists would tell you that, so we took the photo to Doktor Jason, nor is worthy at the university of our concern. It appears to me that this application, when likely, have been made, probably within seven days, this photograph being taken a jelly, what we say especially with a larger pig we'd by now. Forty Twenty one days, you're gonna began to see that plant began to turn somewhat back up right? Mike Mccurdy insist he did not spray past the cut off date and he has good reason to stick to his story. Even though federal law now allows I can but to be sprayed in the growing season, Riccardi supposed to keep records of its use, but when we asked him what herbicides he reported using thy Campbell wasn't on the list and the Department of Justice watching farmers last fall. They indicted a man in Missouri, he was charged with illegally
Frank I can, but on his way being feels and twenty sixteen and covering it up if found guilty, that farmer could face up to twenty years in jail that stories from the Meda Williams and trigger we first that story last spring this summer. It's been especially rainy in the east in the MID West, so soybean farmers planted late, and there is evidence to suggest of illegal thy Campbell sprang to place. Farmers from at least AIDS aids are bringing lawsuits against Monsanto and another company that put the product on the market
growth is an investigative reporter who also worked story. She joins me now Eliza. How so I say if they can be so problematic. How do we get approved in the first place? That's a really good question. Now the short answer is the system has broken. The EPA is supposed to make sure products it allows on the market are safe, but to do that every lies mostly on studies from the companies that make the products, the ideas and supposed to save taxpayers money, but is an obvious conflict of interests. So the EPA is also supposed to consider evidence from independent scientists and as for the system, failed tons of independent studies, show that sprang so much I can buy would cause widespread damage, but the EPA ignored the evidence and cited when Monsanto tills about some of the problems with me, Santos studies, Monsanto submitted hundreds of lab studies that claimed proved I Camberwell be volatile and by
I would I mean and evaporates into the air in one place than comes down in another, but scientists have known for decades lab studies, don't capture what happens in the field. I got transcripts through state public record. Because the churn Monsanto new volatility was a problem, they didn't let independent researchers test their product because they don't want to jeopardize the EPA approval. How did Monsanto stop those independent scientists from testing the new De Campbell product? The only way they could tell the products was if Monsanto and the other producers gave them access. Wendy Campbell manufactured did. That was Bs F, but Monsanto did not. Several years before was approved minds. And I was selling its shareholders that is new, die Camberwell damage, other crops and seem pretty clear. They didn't want anyone to get the chance to show that this might not be true. So after, was approved? Did the academic scientists get a chance to and if so, what did they say
oh yeah. They did all sorts of different experiments and am pretty much everyone they found, it had drifted from fields where was trade and damage nearby crops Monsanto's on by attacking their credibility, If these scientists tell me they were appalled by this, when I asked you. Firstly, researcher way that there is such a big difference between the Monsanto studies in his studies, his response, I am not trying to sell it. So what did the EPA do when all this independent science came to light? Here's the deal after State Scott record numbers of complaints, the EPA invited the nations top we'd scientists to discuss the problem and reference cause. I got transcripts of these cause. They show that scientists after scientists, told EPA officials simply changing hey. You complied I camper. When solve the problem, that's because the product itself was the problem. These signs
stood studies where they follow the instructions exactly, but I canvas still evaporated unharmed plants, the EPA in care. They just changed instructions on the label which didn't do anything. Of the problem they were giving lip service to the scientists, but really they were tipping the scales for Monsanto. Why would they EPA one allow this product on the market. They say it's all about Knowing weeds out, PS and I and get rid of weeds that I become resistant every other week killer, including round up, but there's ready, eminence the weeds, can evolve resistance to die camera, and I can't be still drifting off of fields and wreaking havoc this past year. More complain became for especially crab farmers like honey producers, that's because they cambric Hell's wild weeds that bees need to survive. One of the largest beekeepers in that country.
Only he thinks TAT Camp is partly to blame for the smallest honey crop. He'd ever seen, faceless those reporter lesser gross after the break. We're gonna tell you about another problem: beekeepers who have back in the day. What did you do with the horse thief or a cattle wrestler. Those guys. Her strong up be rustlers. Yet that's what I said in California, Lakes, unrevealed from the centre for investigative reporting, MP or X, from Senegal investigative aborting MP are ex. This is reveal a melody In January twenty sixteen common Conan
was getting ready to move hundreds of his honeybee hives into Armand Fields near Chico, California, trees when blossom in pollination season was about to start. It takes thirty billion bees trucked in from all over the country pollinate. California is one million acres of trees, lot of Cameroon. Bees one would boxes in a staging about thirty miles from his house, he'd been there check on a couple days before We think seem normal, but Seven in the morning his phone ring it was employee in charge of moving the bees- and I got a call the bees are here at first camera- was just confused. Then he got a hunch opt into his truck and when he got to his side he saw a been cleaned out so turned forty hives. And they stole it all is while the tracks in dire marks and and
That is not all I can do except phone sheriff, make polish port of past. There wasn't much in the way of evidence, but indeed noticed for the thieves and used special foregrip designed for moving hogs. They would have needed protection to be suits. There was One conclusion: there there beekeepers it put it another way, their bags weeks when by Cameron, started here from fellow beekeepers across California story. All the same, of hives stolen in separate incidents. Over several months, look like the largest be heist anyone had ever seen, maybe the largest in U S, history reveals. Buyer Dunkin has been found this ongoing saga he tells us how beefs have gone from a niece problem to a major opportunity for criminals. To understand what would motivate someone to steal so many hives. You first have to understand the value of bees, especially in California
and especially right now, to do that. I meet up with Denise calls an almond orchard. Ascalon about ninety miles, east of San Francisco shuffles through the trunk of a Mercedes and comes up with a pile, be elegiac aware these painting once that's how far she puts on a pink no it's brand new. She gives me a plain white one. It's heavy duty, How do I throw this when I'm in that way? You got the full blown feel of it cuz. I don't know what the bees are. Like then they'll sting it did the bee suit and jeans What can Europe do needs is a bee broker a sort of intermediaries between beekeepers and omen. Farmers she's been in business for fifteen years. She helps managed logistical challenges of transporting billions of bees in the California Orchards today, she's doing a hive inspection with a farmer, Karl VON Fleet, Carl in Denise, walking through rose in rows of olive trees, each one dotted with light pink blossoms.
Kind of full bloom right now, maybe, Maybe a hare pass, but were hoping for sunny whether every few feet they crackled and be boxes stacked on the ground. They pumping sweet smoke to calm the bees than pull out the wooden that's where they build their whack. You don't seem like only after the box, we helping their estimating how densely the bees are packed in the more bees. The more value Farmers, like coral, want to make sure they're getting your monies worth. The price of hives has been rising steadily free, years as more and more commentaries trees get planted in California, the? U S, exports around two billion pounds of almonds a year: Spain, India and China are the top desk nations every acre voluntaries needs to be hives or be boxes for pollination, each I've rents for about two hundred dollars so
multiply all that by a million acres of trees across the state and the total price tag for growers to rent bees is about four hundred million dollars inside a clients office than he tells me. The bees that pollinate California's Omen groves come from as far away as Missouri in Florida when they get here, the hives are brought to remote fields. There often completely unprotected, and you wouldn't know their value. She says, because ferment and outsiders perspective, it doesn't look like much goes on with a hide. It just looks like this beautiful White Box at the field, but people dont really what it takes to get it to that level. It takes months of work, keeping the bees bed and free of parasites, hundreds of dollars per hive, so profits for beekeeping. This can be raised within, but, of course, thieves. Have to worry about all that up front work with a fork lived. They can scoop of palette after palette of hives. Thousands of dollars worth of bees in just a few minutes ago.
Is starting to understand. The extent of California is be theft problem in twenty seventeen, a b keeper, Missouri and Alexa Pavlov had gotten a tip the thousands of dollars of her stolen. These were sitting in a fee. Near the city of friends. Now she called the detective there. Ain't Isaac Torres he's part of freshness agricultural crimes, taskforce Yes, there is such a thing in this area which, after all, is known as the bread basket of America anyway, the call Surprise Prize Torres, but only sort of in more than five years on the job. He seen a lot of unconventional stuff from eighty from commodities to cargo thieves to stolen tractors, people go not stealing and actual fruit from fields bales of hay. Tourism have agreed to meet leader that week in a scrubby field outside of Fresno sure enough when they got there, they saw hundreds of bee boxes scattered around some half assembled, Some scratched up or newly repainted it was,
Watching hot and the bees were zipping through the cloudless sky, which of course made it hard to get a close look. We drove up to the bees exercise because member Wilmore out there, you can open up the doors because the same kind to but toothpaste back in the two, it's one thing to inspect: stolen property. It's another thing to get swarmed by that property and pump full venom. This didn't bother Pavlov that as tourists watched in horror she marched into the swarm instead poking around no be suit. No gloves, if you its later she came back and said yeah my bees are here: Torres looked out over the field. And he began to realize just what he'd stumbled on this was like a Topshop products. Have you got a whole bunch of carport here and not not solid car parts, but just car ports, but that's basically what we had here was a chop shop, but of behind you had some beer, If that were alive, and then you had sometimes outward
and then you had hives that were basically cut up. Pops boxes were over here on this side of the field, the other parts of the box or on the other side of the building. And you just kind of had to go through there and you had to take a look and see in a kind of was out there more cops arrived. They eventually arrested. Two men, one was wearing a bee suit intending to the stolen hives right there. In the field, as the weeks passed Torres, his phone kept ringing. Beekeepers from across the country wanted to know if their stolen hives had been recovered he got ten calls than twenty then fifty some of them were likewise. I had behind that were stolen. Three years ago, some five years ago When all is said and done, authorities located nearly twenty five hundred stolen hives altogether, they total close to a million dollars
Yet inside the mind of a beef, you ve gotta talk to J Freeman he's a sheriffs deputy in the small town of Orville North of Sacramento. He's been investigating thefts like this for years and is helping as no authorities with their big case right now, our on rich veil highway and View County Irene West to re aviary location where some hives were stolen about six weeks ago today, he's taking me to the site of a recent theft. There was approximately eight hives stolen from this location, and then it looked like whoever stole The hives took em off the pilots by hand one at a time in twenty. Sixteen authorities reported sixteen hundred and ninety five hive. That's too Freeman who keeps the closest thing. Anyone has two estate wide tally after the arrest in the Fresno case. The number went way down, but Freeman says this year
Deaths are on the rise again. I think those numbers Europe around five or six hundred right now, and that is due in most or to the increase in pollination prices. I mean money. It tends to be the root of all evil and had been drives people to do things that they may not normally do one of the most challenge things about investigating defects is the lack of physical evidence. There are rarely security cameras in the fields are tracking devices and the hives most beekeepers, not just thieves, move their bees at night. So it's hard to tell whose legitimacy not if you're, just passing by on the freeway, you end up with your nose in the dirt. Looking for tire tracks, shoeprints the same stuff Cameron Conan was left deciphering when his bees went missing in twenty. Sixteen part of that big
in several places with the number forty to forty, its unique to his bees in his warehouse. He showed me one of these boxes, so here's the forty two fourteen August pays. Sometimes we get sneaky and will put one underneath fair. So if they grandma off, you pop it off a surprise that every single frame, forty two fourteen after. Forty two fourteen on espies. Sometimes we get sneaky and will put one underneath fair. So if they grandma off you pop it off a surprise, then every single frame, forty two fourteen after getting the call he drove down the Fresno five hours away in retreat, any of his two hundred and forty stolen hives. So we ran down there and we put the last half hour: pay withdrew a net over it and came back a lot of it had bees on it, but a wages, broadband gas, the whole pile because it had been in
the year two, so God knows what those guys in them, whether what they put in there, he figured the to suspects, cared more about making money than keeping his bees healthy or free of parasites? You don't want to take any chances. This pass November says an investigator in Fresno told him. They found more of his hives about sixteen hundred miles away in North Dakota. They wanted him to come out immediately, but he was too busy turned to prepare for this year's almond harvest. So he says hives are sitting in a heap with other busted up be boxes. So now I get going North corona and go to the big junk, pile and sort through that all my stuff and try to figure out how to bring that back. I'm sure level can be rotten. It'd, be no actually lacks Martin rats, I already know that best a scenario we get our wood and brand back and maybe view solving some of that stuff came an estimate.
Though his contracts with almond farmers. So he didn't come up short still. The idea that his hives were just there for the taking that someone with a forklift and some bad intentions could seriously cripple as business overnight that it could all happen again to him fill his contracts with women farmers. So we didn't come up short still. The idea that his hives were just there for the taking that someone with a forklift and some bad intentions could seriously cripples business overnight, that it could all happen again to him or another biggie. He knows. That's things, you're not happy. At all I mean Bees are livestock. Back in the day, what did you do with the horse thief? Our cattle thief? Cattle rest
those guys. You're strong up in justice was served in modern times. Justice moved a little slower. The Fresno suspects are out on bail, a hearing is set for October, but be thefts are here to stay. That's because omens have dramatically shaped the very identity of California driving around the state. You see names like not tree part. Way an almond blossom estates manufactured home park, the fields fuel crammed into the landscape, and there are more women trees planted every year, tens of thousands more. That means more demand for bees, which pushes the value of hives higher for farmers and for thieves reveals by dug it brought a sad story hopes, control, powdery mildew, and because it's a natural element, organic farmers use
Next, from almond groves near Fresnel, California, we had west to a strawberry field in the Salinas Valley, where sulphur helps can having to mildew oxygen because it natural element, organic farmers, use it, but actual does it mean I can't close her? I don't you may kids in the hospital whether these wires on them having to have oxygen, because I can't breathe. That's next on reveal from the centre for investigating, reporting and p R. Ex. This is revealed analogy. We ve been hearing dispatches from foreign country, though we re We brought you earlier this year next, which, having less from Fresno to California, is Salinas Valley, called America Saleable just I make sense now is to really the money
Cal family lives in one story, reinstall House and acquired neighbour in the town Salinas early March, windy and cold twelve year old days having an asthmatic. My chest is greatest noise and. I myself sometimes doesn't like it's kind of weird. When she tries to breathe, you can hear whistle just a pause, every couple words to catch her breath psyche of camp breathe very value have to like breathe, faster he has had. Asthma says she was three years old and it affects a lot of things in her life. It's kinda different. To do more stuff. That regular kids can do like we had it's running class, and I was like one of the last people because I can't run well because I got an asthma attack for years as moves thought of ass, a sea broke. Where there is heavy industry and less traffic.
But it turns out, asthma just is common in rural communities. Researchers are trying to figure out why? Rapporteur, I we shall Neil went to find out what they ve learned. I'm with Chris to hang at one of his strawberry fields. Rows of raised beds covered with tarps, withdraw strawberry, Plants poking through they stretch all the way down the valley not just on his land, but on all his neighbors land as well. We're in the middle shorter, country we're in the Middle EAST. Central in southern Santa Cruz, county red on the coast or approximately half a mile from the beach, Chris Farms about a hundred acres, a lot of strawberries? is, and also some care, tomatoes and other vegetables he's. An organic farmer has been in the business about twelve years. The day I meet him, the skies blue for them this time in days, tourism some strawberries over there, but they're all damage from the room. Now what happens
In what way the damaged walk a see the more than the mildew, and it would have been a view. Cluster of wood, of some of these still taste good, nothing that Europe and our basket California. Is roughly ninety percent of US strawberries and over ninety nine percent of the country's grapes. Growing. All of that requires warding off pests, mold and mildew. One of the biggest problems for strawberry and grape farmers is a fungus called powdery mildew strawberries that have it look like someone's a ditch them powder. It does not look of feeling when it comes to preventing powdery mildew farmers have a lot of tools and their tool box. The fact these are on raise beds, creates a lot more airflow and the spacing on if you notice, but these plants are space about sixteen inches apart lotta, guys, platinum, really close together. Trying to get higher yields began with more problems. Christians,
these preventative measures. Work for the most part, but sometimes when its rainy and cold he has to use a pesticide sulphur. First the organic guys. I'm suffers programme the only things that they have to really knock stuff down. Sulphur is applied, for use in organic agriculture, because, after all, its natural just one of the elements like iron ore, magnesium, both Org like an not organic farmers, use it. It's really cheap, just fifty cents, a pound and farmers use tons of it. In fact, it's the most used pesticide in California and its widely used in the rest of the country as well you're supposed to wear a respirator and keep a close eye on wind speed when you're sprang sulphur, but that doesn't always happen and people who, The mentally breathe it in can have irritated eyes sore throats or difficulty breathing LISA Blockers, a pesticide safety experts at the University of California, Davis
there's something about sulfur that makes people are every time that they're exposed to sell for the reaction can get worse kind of like if you are allergic to a bee sting. So every subsequent time that you are stuck your body response and a more severe way. Over the past ten years, California Department of Pesticide regulation has received four hundred reports of people getting sick. After having contact with sulphur, there mostly farm workers and growers. Knowing you, if silver was affecting children who live near the fields where sulphur was sprayed, that's what Brenda Escanaba he set out to study she's a public health researcher at the University of California Berkeley. We had seen these case reports, but there been no large scale, study of children who are living in agriculture
troll communities, but aren't actually involved in farm work themselves. Brenda and her colleagues have been falling a group of more than five hundred children in the Salinas Valley from before they were even born. First, the researchers looked at where farmers had sprayed or dusted sulphur and we can link it to where the kids lived, retook into account. The direction of wind. It wasn't just looking where the children lived but where they lived in terms of where the wind was blowing with them searchers found was that at seven years old kids live closer towards sulphur was applied had more as problems and also poorer lung function. The town of green field is in the Salinas Valley, where Brenda did her study it surrounded. On all sides by fields. Mostly vineyards in fact
nowhere in this tiny place is more than about three quarters of a mile from the nearest field and the elementary schools form a ring around outside of the town. There playgrounds a budding fields if he'll come to these two hundred, Sanchez is eight. She lives with her sister, her mom, her aunt and uncle and her grandparents and one story house, I visited Andreas mom. Lisbon was helping her with her homework she's in second report before she could agree She would have her timid, spelling she's been missing a lot of snow shoes missing a lot in the months citation miss a Hawaii they should call, and then she missed almost of point again. It was because she was sick Andrea started getting sick when she was just a baby about a year old Christine. Then I wouldn't notices that she was reading really fast and at the same time,
It's like her stomach was like going in Here, on by her collar bone, lay Christine and was going into first time Andrea had trouble, breathing and Andreas Father rush her to the hospital, the doktor stabilized her and sent her home, but over the next for years she went to the emergency room five more times when she stopped being able to breathe. She had to be connected to those things like a snake. The oxygen rehearing her nose. She looked like desperate she was small. She wanted to get up, but she couldn't get up. Lizbeth says that I just eight years old, her daughter has been hospitalized for tea. Times, even though she's on medication, she still gets asthma attacks, sometimes severe ones when she has a colder when she plays outside in the winter Andreas. Older sister Alessandra has all been diagnosed with asthma, eyes or nice. You may kids being sick and, having seen my kid, in the hospital whether these, why
is on them having to have oxygen, because he can't wreath sis very hard because of this there have to be going to be and have to be taken in society. Medication Lisbeth grew up unless Lena's valley, her father, was a fire worker and she's known a lot of people with asthma. Do you have any furies, as should the root causes of all? This has led a hundred I feel that it has to do. Allow with like the fields like the air regain make exposed to, especially because my sister has it to my sister. My sister was older. When she was dying, that's what did she was the eleven and she went to the middle school, does a middle school there I wanna go to and we when we were going to the grass all around its fields. Sometimes I remember when I was in school. They would have liked these signs posted on the other side of said danger, because pesticides
One recent growers still use pesticides, despite their health effects, is obvious cost. Remember. Sulphur is cheap. Fifty cents per pound alternatives can cost up to two hundred times more LISA Blacker. The pesticide safety expert, at you see Davis, says if not for sulphur. Some growers would have to up their prices and others with stop growing grapes altogether. Given that sulphur is the number one product used to control powdery mildew, if that went away, wine in table grapes and raisins, would be really expensive. She says: there's no need to ban sulphur. It just needs to be closely regulated anything that we do to reduce the off site movement
of pesticides is good, so monitoring, wind, speed and direction. A lot of great growers do night applications because they are trying to just minimize the exposure to people cause more people. During the day. Fear sprang in a situation where grapes are only on one side of you. It's best to be sprang into the vineyard LISA. There could be even more stringent regulations near home schools and roads, but that is not likely to happen. Karen Morrison is with the California Department of Pesticide regulation, She says her department is aware of the: U see, Berkeley, study on children and their proximity to sulphur spraying, but they won't change any regulations in response to it. She says: that's because it's an epidemiological called study. Epidemiology studies are really challenging for us to use in that they show correlation between events, but they dont show causation
We tend to rely on toxicological studies that more directly show that they use has signed, causes some sort of long term effect. I toxicological study would expose say a mouse, sir animal to a certain amount of sulphur and measure. The effect Karen says so firm as one of the safest pesticides around. We do think that what's in place currently is protective for the people. California, Applications are made crackly trees to Hake. Is he organic farmer? I met earlier. The field where we talked is about three quarters of a mile from a school in a small town. I asked Chris, which he thought about the research and sulphur and asthma. My telling you that for the first time I heard you
about this before by the coalition, with, as one suffer some I've heard of it, but acephala an irritant back, he said: sulphurous is best all the conventional guys they have all these other It was in their torture, so they can spray so they're, not spray, offer their sprain stuff. That way percent sulphur back at you see Berkeley Brenda Escanaba. He says that, based on her study, California should change its sulphur regulations in it. We have to feed the public and at the same time, We have to be certain that we're not polluting the public, so we have to find the balance that allows us to do both, but there The little sign the California will move any time soon to hygiene regulations on sulphur
That's so about reporter. I leash O Neill reporting on the herbicide that Canada was in collaboration with the food and environment reporting network and independent nonprofit news organization. Ali produce for this week show was Fernanda Come arena. The editor is Deborah. George abduction managed window in a host of original score and sound designed by the dynamic dual J Breezes Jim Briggs, Fernando my man, YO alluded dead, help from Caitlin Bans and Catherine Raimondo R C. This crisis sherbert their Thompson, editor in chief executive producer, Kevin solvent. A theme it is by Colorado like support for it. He was provided by the Raven David Logan Foundation. The John Dene CARE T Macarthur Foundation. The janitor looking can we foundation but foundation, the hiding Science Foundation, the democracy fund and the ethics excellence in journalism foundation reveal is a physical production of the centre for
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-19.