Concerns over alleged drift damage led to these decisions
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
Missouri and Arkansas have banned, at least temporarily, the sale and use of all dicamba products.
“The 120-day ban on the sale and use of all dicamba in Arkansas will go into effect Tuesday, July 11 after the Arkansas State Plant Board files the emergency rule with the Secretary of State’s Office,” the Arkansas Department of Agriculture says on its website.
In Missouri, some herbicides are unavailable to farmers until a Special Local Need label is developed and approved.
“That means that distributors cannot sell dicamba products and, more importantly, it means farmers should not apply until we lift (these) orders,” Chris Chinn, Director of Missouri Agriculture, said in a video statement.
Arkansas and Missouri issued these temporary rules as a result of growing concerns due to dicama drift damage.
There are approximately 596 complaints of alleged dicamba misuse across 23 Arkansas counties as of July 7, according to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
And about 130 complaints have been filed in Missouri, according to the St. Louis Dispatch.
State officials and industry groups understand the impact these decisions could have on crop yields.
“It’s heartbreaking to see the damage in the fields knowing all the hard work that went into planting that crop,” Chinn said in the statement. “And as a farmer I know your livelihood is dependent on a successful crop.”
“With upwards of 200,000 soybean acres suspected damaged by dicamba products during the 2017 growing season, it’s clear that action is needed,” Matt McCrate, president of the Missouri Soybean Association, said in a July 7 statement.
But manufacturers of dicamba products see the temporary bans as unnecessary.
“We sympathize with any farmers experiencing crop injury, but the decision to ban dicamba in Arkansas (and Missouri) was premature since the causes of any crop injury have not been fully investigated,” Monsanto said in a July 7 statement.
“We strongly encourage farmers using dicamba in other states to make their voice heard.”
“It would be unfortunate to remove such a vital tool from farmers’ use without having all of the information to support that decision,” Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America, said in a July 10 release. “Though most farmers practice good stewardship and regulatory compliance, it is clear that the action of a few is threatening the sound practices of many.”