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Popular Organic Farm Product ‘Banned In Oregon, California, Washington

Courtesy of Alan Scheiber
Oregon, California and Washington regulators have issued a "stop use" order for the agricultural product known as "Agro Gold WS" after it was found to potentially contain synthetic herbicides.

Alan Scheiber is one organic farmer who would have never applied so-called “Agro Gold WS” to about a dozen acres if he’d known it contained synthetic herbicides.

“It is just beyond the pale of acceptability,” Schreiber said. “No legitimate organic grower would ever use Glyphosate or Diquat — the products that were found in this organic herbicide in an organic farm — no person would ever do that.”

Regulators in Oregon, California and Washington recently issued a "stop use" order for the popular herbicide product that's been widely used on organic crops.

Now, the state of Idaho is investigating, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency is “looking at it more closely,” according to an agency spokesperson.

Schreiber said he was studying the organic substance and its uses because it was so effective. Organic growers were fond of it.

The product wasn't labeled as a conventional herbicide, and that could have endangered farmworkers, Schreiber said. They might have not been wearing enough protective gear or taking extra precautions when mixing or applying the chemicals because they didn't know what was really in it. Glyphosate was the key ingredient in Monsanto's controversial pesticide Roundup. The patent for it has expired.

For its part, the Florida-based company Agro Research International denies it adds chemicals to its organic mixture.

CEO Marc Lajeunesse told the public media Northwest News Network that he’s fighting back against the investigations.

“We decided to put this co-pack [of two products — Agro Gold and Weed Slayer] together. It’s been working well for many years,” he said. “I know we don’t use chemicals.”

And, he said, he’s not too worried about the investigations.

“It’s like an intruder comes to your house at night: If you have ammunition to defend yourself, you shouldn’t worry.”

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.