California Department of Pesticide Regulation v. Agra Fly et al.

No description
September 28, 2023
Provisional judgment
United States, Kern, California

California Department of Pesticide Regulation
Rob Bonta, Tracy L. Winsor, John D. Butterfield.

Civil court
Herbicide, Glyphosate, Malathion, Azoxystrobin, Difenoconazole, Bifenthrin, Other
To suspend aerial pesticide spraying by the company Agra Fly following several incidents of illegal spraying of products on non-targeted plots.
Superior Court of the State of California of Kern, California, United States
No description

October 19, 2023
No description
No description

On 19 October 2023, the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Kern, issued a decision temporarily suspending the aerial pesticide spraying activities of the US company Agra Fly. The case had been brought before the Court by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR), represented by Director Julie Henderson, on behalf of the people of the State of California on 28 September 2023.

The CDPR complained that Agra Fly and its owner and pilot, John A. Slykerman, had, on several occasions between September 2022 and September 2023, caused phytosanitary products to drift onto non-targeted parcels when using the aerial pesticide spraying services offered by the company. The CDPR accuses John A. Slykerman of failing to renew his aerial spraying pilot licence, which expired in February 2023.

The negligence of John A. Slykerman and his company in the aerial spraying of pesticides resulted in damage not only to neighbouring properties, but also to individuals residing near the spraying area.

In support of its claims, the CDPR relies in particular on section 12972 of the Food and Agriculture Code, under which "the use of any pesticide by any person shall be in such a manner as to prevent any significant drift to non-target areas".

John A. Slykerman, who was responsible for 6 pesticide drift accidents, has already been fined three times. While the Court granted CDPR's first request and granted a temporary injunction to cease activity, it still has to rule on the merits of the 23 arguments raised by CDPR. The trial on the merits will begin on 15 December 2023. The CDPR is asking the Court to take the necessary measures to prevent Agra Fly from continuing to breach existing legislation, and to fine Agra Fly and its owner.