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2 ag companies get fines for pesticide drifts

FILE -- Emergency workers are on scene of a pesticide exposure on Copus Road south of Bakersfield, Calif., May 5, 2017. (KBAK/KBFX photo/Steve Mills)

County agriculture officials have issued fines to two companies for pesticide drifts that made farmworkers ill in May.

Sun Pacific Farming Maricopa was fined more than $30,000, and Grapeman Farms was fined $20,000.

The Kern County Department of Agriculture and Measurement Standards said Tuesday that it took "swift enforcement action" after pesticides drifted from nearby fields and sickened five farmworkers in the area of Maricopa, south of Copus Road and west of Interstate 5.

"Agriculture is vitally important to Kern County. At the same time, we want to do everything we can to protect the public and the environment. Integral to this is agricultural worker safety," Kern County Agricultural Commissioner Glenn Fankhauser said in a news release.

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