Monday, July 25, 2011

A Major Set-Back

About six weeks ago, one of our hay fields looked like this. Simply gorgeous--almost ready to cut. We were in the fields, planting like crazy. Planting late, because of a cold, endlessly rainy spring. Despite the fog that envelopes those who are planting late, planting like crazy, one thing stood out in this hayfield.

The tracks.

What on earth? Someone had been in our hayfield! Not just an ATV, riding along the edge, either. This someone had carefully ridden back and forth across the whole field at regular, methodic intervals. And that someone was BIG.

Ruh-roh. Trouble. The only huge thing that rides back and forth across a hayfield at methodic, regular intervals leaving only tracks is a spray rig. Someone must have sprayed our hayfield. Our organic hayfield.

The Farmer started calling neighboring farmers. The first one said he does all his own spraying. Not likely he would be confused about which field was his. The second farmer told us he hadn't ordered any custom spraying lately. The third farmer said he'd ordered a Roundup® application for his hayfield a few days earlier. A hayfield exactly 1/2 mile north of our hayfield. Bingo. He gave us the name of the custom applicator, and we continued with our phone calling.

I won't bore you with the details, except to say that we have been pleasantly surprised at the conduct of those who accidentally sprayed the wrong field. We have been upfront with them about the seriousness of the setback this causes us. They were quick to assure us that they'd goofed, and would make it right. And we've received a very fair settlement already, without any need for wrangling things out in court.

So we have disced down the now-dead hayfield, without harvesting a single bale from it this year. We will have to plant again (including the extensive adjoining tree windbreak that was just getting past the teeny, vulnerable stage). We will have to start over with the 3-year process of paperwork for regaining our organic certification for that particular field. And we will have to keep the hay that we harvest from that field separate from our organic hay for 3 years until it can again be considered certified organic.

A major set-back, to be sure. But we are glad it's been taken care of and we can now begin planning for what comes next with that field.


  1. Wow! I bet that was extremely frustrating!

    I'm so glad to hear that you have received a fair settlement, but , again, how frustrating for you!!!

  2. OH NO!
    I'm so happy to hear that they took care of you ASAP.

  3. Oh no, that's terrible! How frustrating, but I'm glad the people who made the mistake settled fairly and quickly with you. What a hassle, and a nasty setback for sure after all your hard work getting the organic certification. . . .

  4. Wow. Such a bummer! Mistakes happen, though, and I'm glad their making things right.

  5. longtime reader (& former west michigan dweller)... had to comment on this--that's tragic! i'm very glad you got a settlement so easily but that's so frustrating that you have to begin the 3 year transition process all over again!

  6. My hubby would have cursed and thrown things for a long time! I would have cried! I am glad you got a settlement, but know that wont replace the next three years of transition. My heart goes out to you guys!

  7. I'm glad they're making it right, but ARGH. I don't even like to think about all the spray drift we catch just living in the middle of it.

  8. You seem far calmer than I would be, though the internet can do that sometimes. That's a rough go, but you're making it sound like they are trying to make things right, which is good. :)


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