APRIL 7, 2004 - Posted at 4:05 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A judge is throwing out a lawsuit filed by northeast Arkansas farmers challenging their forced participation in the state's boll weevil eradication program.
The decision means the farmers will continue paying a per-acre fee for weevil eradication efforts on their land. The farmers in Mississippi and eastern Craighead counties voted against participation five times before they were drafted into the program.
Pulaski County Judge Jay Moody dismissed the case with prejudice, barring the plaintiffs from bringing the same claims in another lawsuit. Attorney Allan Gates, who represents the farmers, says they will appeal.
Under the pest eradication program, cropland is sprayed with pesticide; farmers, even those who did not want to join, are billed for the cost. The cost was $8 an acre this year.