Concerns are being raised about the costs of future investigations into pesticides damaging Missouri crops.

Missouri state capitol

Missouri state capitol

State Rep. Jay Houghton (R-Martinsburg), who chairs the House Agriculture Policy Committee, says the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s investigation into pesticide complaints has been a drain on the agency. The department’s Division Director, Judy Grundler, says MDA’s investigation into 124 complaints about pesticides damaging Missouri crops has cost $177,000.

“The primary cost was the pesticide residue analysis testing, which is at $153,000. Right now we were able to cover these costs. We were able to receive extra funding from EPA,” Grundler says.

Grundler testified Thursday before the Missouri House Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. She is concerned about funding in future years if more complaints are made about pesticides damaging Missouri crops.

“This is something that we’re going to have to look at,” says Grundler. “We will be putting together a new decision item, because if this is something that we’re going to continuing to be faced with, we’re going to have to have some additional funding to cover the cost for analysis.”

The pesticide complaints have come from five southeast Missouri counties and from northwest Missouri’s Carroll County.

Houghton told Grundler and lawmakers Thursday that he’s heard that the FBI is now involved in investigating complaints about pesticides damaging Missouri crops. Rep. Houghton spoke to Missourinet after the hearing.

“Specifically, I heard that the FBI had confiscated, if you want to call it that, confiscated some computers and some servers from a business, and it was related to the situation with the dicamba,” Houghton says. “So, I haven’t got any confirmation of that. Matter of fact, I couldn’t get confirmation in the Committee.”

Houghton told Grundler that if someone’s breaking the law, he hopes the FBI is investigating.

Missourinet called the FBI’s St. Louis Division, and spokeswoman Rebecca Wu e-mailed us back to say that “it is the policy of the U.S. Department of Justice that the FBI does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.”