Supreme Court: Pesticide drift isn't trespassing

Published On: Aug 01 2012 12:25:37 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 01 2012 12:23:56 PM CDT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Supreme Court says pesticide chemicals that drift from one farm to another do not constitute trespassing under the law, reversing an appeals court decision that found otherwise.

The state's highest court issued its opinion Wednesday in the case of organic farmers Oluf and Debra Johnson of Stearns County, who sued the Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Company.

The Johnsons alleged the co-op repeatedly sprayed pesticides that drifted onto the Johnsons' fields, preventing them from selling their crops as organic. The Johnsons say they lost money when they destroyed crops and took contaminated fields out of organic production.

While the Supreme Court says the trespassing allegations won't hold up under law, the case is still going back to a lower court for proceedings on nuisance and negligence claims.