EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – The East Palestine train derailment happened in February, but farmers immediately had questions. A big answer has just come back for them, and it was good news.

Plant tissue samples were collected from 16 Columbiana County agricultural areas last month. All within five miles of the derailment. No reportable levels of semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) were found, attributable to the train crash.

Melissa Smith has a cattle farm about a mile from Taggart Street. She likes knowing the state checked for 26 SVOCs.

“I was really pleasantly surprised. I was a little concerned I will admit,” Smith said.

Inspectors from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and The Ohio State University collected the samples.

“What this does for farms and farm producers is this provides them data and tangible proof that their plants are not contaminated,” said Haley Shoemaker, with the OSU Extension Office.

The results showed pasture grasses, winter wheat, and forage covers were good. They are ready to be grown and used as harvestable crops or in grazing.

“This is giving us a very, very good snapshot of what we’re seeing in those plants. And we’re also looking at what the soil data tells us as well,” Shoemaker said.

Soil testing has been done through the EPA and those results have come back good too. Samples from closest to the derailment site were considered the most likely for potential contamination, and a wider radius was also tested as a comparison, and that pleased farmers and producers.

“And really went the extra mile to analyze the samples in a way that was going to give us some confidence level moving forward with planting season,” Smith said.

Planting is underway. Corn and beans were being dropped Wednesday. Many places have already made their first cut of hay. Getting the test results now was vital.

“As far as our location and where they’ve drawn those tests from, we’re feeling a good confidence level,” Smith said.

Smith feels the test results are also good news for the people who grow produce or have chickens that lay eggs. Those items are sold at farmer’s markets.

The plant tissue test results are public and available online.