The fines are associated with complaints from 2016
By Diego Flammini
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has begun fining to farmers for herbicide-related infractions.
Eight people from five counties were fined a total of $145,125 for their misuse of dicamba in 2016, according to the Department of Agriculture. The state received a total of 121 dicamba-related complaints that year.
One herbicide applicator from Senath County had 149 violations and received $62,250 in fines.
And there could be more fines on the way.
“It is important for appropriate enforcement action to be issued in order to deter off-label use and protect the integrity of agriculture,” Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, said in a Dec. 14 statement. “We are in the final stages of our case review of 2016 investigations and continuing our field investigations of 2017 complaints.”
Missouri has been one of the strictest states in terms of its response to dicamba issues.
In March, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed House Bill 662. The legislation sets the penalty at $10,000 for producers purposely misusing herbicides. Repeat offenders can be fined up to $25,000 per violation.
On Dec. 11, the Department of Agriculture announced that any growers planning to incorporate dicamba in their 2018 weed management system must obtain Special Local Need labels.
Only certified applicators can sell and apply the product, they can only apply dicamba during certain times, and applicators must fill out a notice of application before spraying, according to these labels.
And Missouri’s soybean association will comply with the new regulations.
“We support the regulatory process and have advocated for tougher penalties for individuals who violate label instructions, especially repeat offenders,” Matt McCrate, president of the Missouri Soybean Association, said in a Dec. 11 statement.