June 11, 2004--Posted at 4:00 p.m. CDT
Harrisburg--"I want every farmer to do well because it is hard work, but I don't want them to kill my tomatoes,"said farmer Forrest Falls.
Forrest Falls is a tomato farmer in Poinsett County.
This job is his livelihood. He says the chemicaL, Facet, is ruining his crops.
Facet is a rice herbicide used to help control certain types of barnyard grass.
Falls says he understands other farmers have to earn their livings as well.
He simply wants them to use different chemicals.
"Rice is the biggest money maker in Arkansas. Arkansas raises more rice than anyone. It's money, power, and politics. It is big business against the little guy,"said Falls.
Forrest Falls will pay about $1.50 for tomato plants, and at the end of the season he should make about $5.00 from each plant.
This year, he has made nothing.
Doris Benson has a truck farm. She grows a little bit of everything in her back yard.
She has the same trouble with Facet.
"The leaves start twisting to where they don't even look like leaves, and then the blooms fall off,"said Benson.
Benson says this chemical is hurting the small farm owner more than anyone else.
She says if they all rally together, maybe they can get this chemical off the market.
"There's just too few tomato farmers and too many rice farmers,"said Benson.
County Extension Agent, Branon Thiesse, is not so quick to place all the blame on Facet.
"It's very hard to tell, especially for m, especially for me if it's Facet, or 2-4 d. Also, there is a virus attacking these plants as well,"said Thiesse.
At the County Extension Agency they advise farmers when, where, and how to apply all of their chemical protection.
If it's applied in proper conditions, it will not move with the wind.