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Oregon Winegrowers Raising Awareness of 2,4-D Spraying


Date: 05/09/14

OWA Signs Ask Neighbors to Avoid Spraying Within 350 Feet of Vineyards

PRESS RELEASE

PORTLAND, May 9, 2014 – In an effort to expand awareness of the risks herbicide spray drift can pose to vineyards, the Oregon Winegrowers Association (OWA) is making fence post signs available to  wineries and vineyard owners. The signs alert farmers who are using 2,4-D to the danger this may be causing to Oregon’s valuable winegrape crop.

Concern about the effects of 2,4-D on more than 25,000 acres of vineyards in Oregon is widespread across the state. 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (usually referred to by its abbreviation, 2,4-D) is a common systemic herbicide used in the control of broadleaf weeds. It is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, and is the third most commonly used herbicide in North America.

The herbicide has been known to wreak havoc on grapevines when they are located near where 2,4-D is being applied. It can drift as an ester for miles and descend without warning when meeting a pocket of cool air. Of all plants, grapes are among the most sensitive to this chemical’s ability to disrupt growth – or in some instances kill otherwise healthy, mature vines.

“Our goal in making the signs available is to raise the awareness among farmers who are using 2,4-D that the unintended consequences of its use are taking a toll on the Oregon wine industry,” said Doug Tunnell, owner of Brick House Wines and a member of the Oregon Winegrowers Association board of directors. “We lag behind both California and Washington in regulating the use of 2,4-D.”

The OWA is providing the 12- by 18-inch signs for $21 each through the OWA office in Portland. Since the availability of the signs was announced last week, orders have been coming in at a brisk pace, said Tom Danowski, executive director of the OWA. Spring is a critical time for Oregon grape growers as tender buds appear on the grapevines and much of the initial rapid foliage growth occurs.

In Washington state, the most volatile forms of 2,4-D have been banned altogether. A form less prone to drift is restricted for use between April 5 and Oct. 31. In the wine-growing counties of California, strict rules apply to any purchase and application of the herbicide.

The OWA is working with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to raise awareness of the 2,4-D
problem and to make it aware of spray drift incidents. OWA is asking growers to report incidents of drift damage to spraydrift@oregonwine.org or to complete a special survey available at
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/owaspraydrift.

About the Oregon Winegrowers Association

The Oregon Winegrowers Association (OWA) is a voluntary membership-based organization that
provides legislative and regulatory advocacy and lobbying for the Oregon winegrape and wine industry.

The OWA provides a unified voice on key industry issues before state and federal government agencies, legislative bodies and related associations. The OWA works to develop a positive and favorable environment for Oregon’s wineries and winegrape growers.

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