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FIRST ON 3: Pesticide Board to consider settlement with Ag-Mart


RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) -- It's accused of using dangerous pesticides that caused severe birth defects. This week, a produce company with two farms in our area could reach a settlement.

The North Carolina Pesticide Board found Ag-Mart's regional manager guilty of almost 50 pesticide violations at its farms in Brunswick and Pender counties in 2004 and 2005. Ag-Mart appealed the decision and will meet with the Pesticide Board to try and put an end to the long running case.

Workers at Ag-Mart's North Carolina farms say their children suffered severe birth defects as a result of pesticide misuse. One woman, who was pregnant when she worked for Ag-Mart, had a son born with no arms and no legs.

The pesticide board ordered Ag-Mart's regional manager to pay $24,000 in penalties and revoked his pesticide license for two years. Ag-Mart appealed the decision.

Wednesday the company will discuss a settlement with the Pesticide Board. Under the proposal, Ag-Mart would pay $25,000 for the violations and fund a training program for farm workers for the next two years.

If the board agrees to the settlement, Ag-Mart would drop its appeal, and the manager would be allowed to keep his license as long as he does not have any violations within the next six months.

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You will note

this refers to civil penalties and makes no refernce to payments for damages which may have taken place or for workers compensation injury damages.