Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Arkansas Could Become First State to Ban Dicamba

Popular
www.youtube.com

The herbicide dicamba, which has been linked to devastating crop damage around the U.S., could be banned in Arkansas next year.

The Arkansas Dicamba Task Force has recommended a cut-off date for the use of the highly drift-prone and volatile herbicide by next April 15 for the 2018 season.


The state agriculture department has logged 950 misuse complaints in 26 counties as of August 23.

Although dicamba has been around for decades, Monsanto, DuPont and BASF SE sells new formulations of the product that is supposedly less drift-prone and volatile than older versions when used correctly. The herbicide can be applied to crops genetically engineered by Monsanto to resist the herbicide. But off-target fruits, vegetables and other crops are often left cupped and distorted when exposed to the chemical.

Weed specialists suspect that the thousands of crop damage reports arising across the country's farm belt are linked to dicamba exposure. Roughly 3.1 million acres have been impacted as of Aug. 10, according to Kevin Bradley, an associate professor in the University of Missouri's Division of Plant Sciences.

A video from the Arkansas Farm Bureau describes how dicamba "has become the most difficult issue the Arkansas State Plant Board and University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture weed scientists have faced in years."

Arkansas temporarily banned the use and sale of dicamba last month. Missouri and Tennessee took similar actions.

The issues surrounding dicamba surfaced last year when Monsanto sold its Xtend cotton and soybean seeds several growing seasons before getting federal approval for the corresponding herbicide. Without having the proper herbicide, cotton and soybean growers were suspected of illegally spraying older versions of dicamba onto their crops and inadvertently damaging nearby non-target crops due to drift.

Monsanto developed its Xtend system to address "superweeds" that have grown resistant to glyphosate, the main ingredient in the company's former bread-and-butter, Roundup.

The St. Louis-based seed-maker told Reuters that the task force's recommendation will put Arkansas farmers at a disadvantage to those in other states. Spokeswoman Charla Lord explained that Monsanto is in talks with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which "is interested in achieving national uniformity with dicamba regulation in order to avoid a state patchwork." BASF and DuPont did not provide Reuters with comments.

The task force also made two other recommendations, according to BrownfieldAgNews:

  • Fix the regulations as they are now concerning penalties for violators of dicamba misuse to remove the requirement for proof of damage. Misuse should constitute a violation.
  • Request more independent/university testing before new products come to market (seed and chemical). And the entire "package" must be ready at once.

Arkansas' governor and state agencies will review the recommendations before making a decision. A timeline not yet been disclosed.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less