Friday, April 24, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Explosions may cost organic farm certification

By
From page A1 | January 27, 2013 |

When police destroyed explosive-making materials found in a junior researcher’s apartment, they may have contaminated part of the UC Davis Student Farm.
Soil samples were collected before and after eight controlled detonations on a fallow field off Orchard Park Drive on Jan. 17.
“The national organic law says you can’t put anything synthetic on organic ground. Our basic assumption is that we’re going to have to take some land out of certification,” said Mark Van Horn, Student Farm director, on Saturday.  “We’re just sort of in a holding pattern at this point, waiting to see what the results of the tests are.”
The Santa Cruz-based California Certified Organic Farmers, which certifies organic farms throughout the state, will use the samples to determine whether the detonation site will lose its organic certification and, if so, how much acreage around it will also lose its certification, under the law, for three years.
The chemicals and other materials were collected after a small explosion in a Russell Park apartment complex early Jan. 17 resulted in the evacuation of 40 apartments and a 20-hour chemical-removal operation by bomb technicians. David Scott Snyder, 32, who suffered minor injuries in the blast, was arraigned on 10 felony counts in Yolo County Superior Court. He is being held on $2 million bail.
Van Horn said the field used to destroy some of the material has typically been used for research. It has been left fallow for “a couple of years.”
Organic farming is the “default mode of management” for the 20-acre farm, which includes a Market Garden that grows crops for students and the community.
UCD Police Chief Matt Carmichael said that the site, about 50 yards from any crops, was picked with safety in mind. Transporting the chemicals was dangerous work, so the experts on the scene didn’t want them carried far.
“It was absolutely regrettable that we had to render these items safe in that area,” Carmichael said. “That is a shame, but human life was paramount. The people from the Student Farm have been very supportive. We’ll do everything we can to help get the farm back to where it was.”
Carmichael said that the controlled method of detonation, the heat of which eliminates the chemicals’ explosiveness, is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency — “but we’re at a different level (with this field), because we’re talking about organic certification.”
Five people representing the Student Farm or the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, the farm’s governing body, met with Carmichael on Tuesday to voice concerns about a lack of communication with the department.
“It was not because of lack of trying, but we were just faced with the facts at the time and the time window we had,” Carmichael said. “If we had more time, we would have had someone from the farm point us to a different area, but  hindsight is 20-20.”
On Thursday, technicians disposed of materials collected from Snyder’s lab on campus. This time, the materials were taken to a more remote area, west of Old Davis Road and south of I-80, to what police were assured was an idle field that was not being farmed.
They issued a WarnMe message to the campus community, personally alerted several nearby rural residents and also gave people responsible for any animals in the area a heads-up “to make sure they were in the know.” Another WarnMe message was sent out once the detonations — two this time — were done.
Carmichael said having time to plan the second disposal made all the difference.
“Thursday’s an example of everything going pretty darn good.”
— Enterprise staff writer Lauren Keene contributed to this report.

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

     
    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5