Farmers and the Law

Michael T. Olexa

The use of agricultural chemicals is subject to extensive regulation at every level of government. At least six federal statutes, numerous amendments, and countless administrative regulations address every aspect of their use, from manufacture and distribution to storage, application and disposal. State and local environmental and land use laws also regulate how agricultural chemicals may be used. Many of these regulations carry civil and criminal penalties. In addition to this extensive mass of regulations, a farmer may also be subject to a lawsuit if persons or property are harmed by the farmer's use of pesticides.

Farmers can avoid violating these laws while protecting human health and environment by exercising care and common sense in the use of agricultural chemicals and through familiarity with the law.

Farmers and others with questions concerning their agrichemical operations can turn to numerous sources for answers. Federal, state, and local environmental or agricultural agencies, the Cooperative Extension Service, and private agricultural associations, may serve as excellent sources of information. Private attorneys specializing in environmental or agricultural law and environmental and agricultural consulting firms are also useful sources in addressing specific concerns.

Publication #: FRE-79

This document was published 11/91 as Fact Sheet FRE-79 , Florida Cooperative Extension Service. For more information, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office.

Michael T. Olexa, Associate Professor and Agricultural Law Specialist, Food and Resource Economics Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. This publication is designed to provide accurate, current and authoritative information on the subject. However, since the laws, administrative rulings and court decisions on which it is based are subject to constant revision, portions of this publication could become outdated at any time. This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice, and the information contained herein should not be regarded, or relied upon, as a substitute for professional advice.

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