Ouch, 20 years?
I doubt he will serve a day in prison. Federal prosecutors love dropping press releases like this. It holds great psychological power. I do like the precedent it sets. Farmers will be hold responsible for herbicide drift. They guy never would have been on the radar if he had not pissed of his neighbors
Overspray is terrible. Growing up, our garden was about 150’ off the road, and still got hit by the state spraying glyphosphate on the road most years. If the wind is blowing, it is a no brainer to me… DONT SPRAY! This should be prosecuted more, but at the end of the day, it is expensive to get lawyers, and not seen as worth it unless there is a grudge, or extreme mortality or crop loss…
I bet the main legal issue is not his use of the herbicide but the other charges. Otherwise he’d probably only be facing stiff fines for a first prosecuted offence.
Before talking to investigators it’s probably best to talk to a competent lawyer before trying to lie your way out of trouble.
I’d think the issue ought to be making his neighbors whole for the damage he caused
Herbicide drift is frequently not actual droplets of spray but vapors of the herbicide from evaporation of the active chemical which is then absorbed by distant plants. Happens all the time, mostly unnoticed and frequently little damage to the distant plants other than unusual growth for a short time.