Public health concerns have prompted the state Department of Pesticide Regulation to end an exemption that let growers apply more of the fumigant Telone than is allowed.
The move is not being well received by some growers, who say that, without the exemption, they will have to use less effective chemicals, resulting in lower yields and a shorter growing season.
"The state has to do what they think they need to do," said Bob Weimer, who farms 400 acres of sweet potatoes in the Atwater-Livingston area of Merced County. "But I think they are taking an overly cautious view of the product and its potential hazards." (...)