Ever since the Utah Farm Bureau began spreading the word about a state program to reclaim banned pesticides, farmers have been turning in the compounds by the ton.

The program is aimed at eliminating stores of old chemicals declared illegal after they were purchased. It allows farmers to turn in the pesticides anonymously.Many farmers in Box Elder, Cache, Rich and Weber counties jumped at that offer recently during a collection in Tremonton. They unloaded 11,453 pounds of pesticides, officials said.

"The farmers I talked to were thrilled," said Farm Bureau spokesman Vic Saunders. "They were happy they finally had a way to legally dispose of them. It's tough to get rid of that stuff."

Dick Wilson, who oversees the collection for the Utah Department of Agriculture, stressed that the promise of anonymity is at the core of the program's success.

"With this program, farmers won't need to have concerns about future penalties. There won't be any records naming individuals who turned in chemicals," he said.

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"Most farmers are very concerned about their environment, very law abiding," Wilson added. "I would like to give the farmers credit for not dumping (the pesticides) out in a wash and holding it until the day they could dispose of it in a legal, organized program."

The response was so good Wilson intends to do it next summer in Davis, Juab, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah and Wasatch counties.

"The program spells increased environmental protection. The risk of older containers leaking and allowing the chemicals to move into the groundwater is gone," Wilson said. "For farmers it's also costly, keeping it under cover and making sure the containers last."

All sorts of pesticides were collected, he said.

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