Quantcast

Arkansas Could Become First State to Ban Dicamba

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.

Sponsored
zeljkosantrac / E+ / Getty Images

Medically reviewed by Hrefna Palsdottir, MS

Oats are considered to be one of the healthiest grains on earth. Find out why and how to incorporate this breakfast staple into your morning routine.

Read More Show Less
Youth activists ages 11-18 learn to fight plastic pollution at the inaugural Ocean Heroes Bootcamp. Ocean Heroes Bootcamp

By 2018 Ocean Heroes: Claire MacQueen (13 years old), Sabine Thomas (13) and Ava Inskeep (14)

We despise single-use plastics. We want to keep our oceans and our beaches clean. Early last year I (Claire) lived in India for several months and became curious about plastic waste, as it was much more visible in India than back home in the U.S. Seeing all the plastic waste while I was visiting helped me to understand that much of the trash produced by the U.S. actually ends up in developing countries, like India, which does not have a proper waste management system like we do at home, which causes a ton of trash to end up in waterways and the ocean.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in South Carolina on Jan. 21. Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday that he will run for president in 2020, becoming the latest candidate in a crowded Democratic primary field to promise a Green New Deal if elected, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
Degraded coral reefs at Kahekili Beach Park in west Maui, Hawaii. Peter Swarzenski / Usgs

In a case watched closely both by polluting industries and clean water advocates across the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up an appeal of a Clean Water Act case out of Hawaii concerning treated sewage flowing into the Pacific Ocean from injection wells.

Read More Show Less
A woman works at a distrubiton station at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on Feb. 5. JOHANNES EISELE / AFP / Getty Images

Amazon will strive to cut carbon emissions from its shipments in half by 2030, the e-commerce giant said Monday. The retailer's plan calls for an increase in the use of electric delivery vehicles and renewable energy as well as pressuring suppliers to use less packaging.

Read More Show Less