Matthew Weaver/Capital Press file
The Washington State Department of Agriculture is seeking comments on proposed restricted-use herbicide rules.
The new guidelines would be simpler for farmers to navigate, said Drew Lyon, a Washington State University weed science professor.
Each county in Eastern Washington currently has its own specially designated areas, meaning that a farmer needs to know the rules for the particular area he is spraying.
The proposed rules will create one set of rules, Lyon said.
“I think it should help, because everyone should be aware of what they have to do,” Lyon said. “Basically, if you get within a certain distance of an orchard or a vineyard, you have to follow certain guidelines. That’s true wherever you happen to be.”
The changes modernize the rules and get rid of redundancies, Lyon said.
Lyon believes it’s a good change, but advises farmers to look over the proposal and let the state know what they think, Lyon said. “They need to get comments from growers.”
A task force of industry members and WSU researchers helped develop the proposed changes, he said.
“I think it’s a good-faith effort, and now people who have to live by these rules should take a look and see what they think of them,” Lyon said.
The rule changes don’t eliminate repercussions for drift onto vineyards or orchards, Lyon said.
“I just think this is going to make it a whole lot easier for people to abide by the rules and not get confused,” Lyon said.