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Deerfield, Mass., Contacting UMass Amherst Over Herbicide Spraying

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Town officials in Deerfield, Massachusetts, are reaching out to UMass Amherst after residents complained about spraying at a grass research farm owned by the university.

A neighbor of the Joseph Troll Turf Research Center in South Deerfield said a worker wearing a protective suit and a respirator was spraying something on a field of grass.

The board of selectmen is asking the university to spell out what's going on.

Carolyn Ness, who is a member of the board and also chairs the board of health, said she wants to know.  

"I think it makes sense that the information on what they're spraying be distributed to the town and the neighbors, as well as some kinds of heads up when they are spraying, so people can take precautions -- like to close the window, keep kids indoors -- that kind of thing," Ness said. 

Ness said the board of health voted to issue a cease and desist order if it doesn't receive the information it's requesting before next spring.

A UMass spokesperson said the university hasn't heard from the town yet, but an employee wearing a chemical-resistant suit was applying an herbicide called Trimec.

She said the treatments are important for research and the center complies with regulations.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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