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Soybeans with cupped leaves, a symptom of dicamba injury. University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Dicamba Damage Roars Back for Third Season in a Row

University weed scientists have reported roughly 383,000 acres of soybean injured by a weedkiller called dicamba so far in 2018, according to University of Missouri plant sciences professor, Kevin Bradley.

Dicamba destroys mostly everything in its path except the crops that are genetically engineered (GE) to resist it. The drift-prone chemical can be picked up by the wind and land on neighboring non-target fields. Plants exposed to the chemical are left wrinkled, cupped or stunted in growth.

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In 2016 Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex in California and Oregon was sprayed with 236,966 pounds of pesticides. Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

490,000 Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Sprayed on National Wildlife Refuges

America's national wildlife refuges are being doused with hundreds of thousands of pounds of dangerous agricultural pesticides every year, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity.

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Mark Heatherington / Flickr

Monarch Butterfly Migration Could Collapse, Scientists Warn

The yearly count of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico, released Monday, shows a decrease from last year's count and confirms the iconic orange and black butterfly is still very much at risk. The count of 2.48 hectares of occupied winter habitat is down from 2.91 hectares last winter.

Overall, monarchs have declined by more than 80 percent over the past two decades.

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Dicamba Drift Could Put 60 Million Acres of Monarch Habitat at Risk

Dicamba—a drift-prone herbicide linked to millions of acres of off-target crop damage across in 17 states—destroys mostly everything in its path except the crops that are genetically engineered to resist it. It's so damaging that several states, including Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri have introduced temporary bans on the weedkiller.

There's now another reason to worry about the controversial chemical. It's particularly harmful to milkweed, the only host plant for the iconic and already at-risk monarch buttery.

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In Blow to Monsanto, Arkansas Ban on Controversial Herbicide to Remain

Monsanto lost its bid to overturn Arkansas' ban on dicamba, a controversial weedkiller linked to extensive damage to famers' crops in the state as well as several other states.

The agribusiness giant makes a version of the herbicide called XtendiMax that's paired with its seeds that are genetically engineered to resist the product. DuPont Co. and BASF SE also sell their own dicamba-based formulations.

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'Dangerous Drift-Prone Pesticide' Threatens Millions of Acres, Hundreds of Endangered Species: Farmers and Conservationists Sue EPA, Monsanto

On Friday, public interest organizations representing farmers and conservationists made their legal case in a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Monsanto Company, challenging EPA's approval of Monsanto's new "XtendiMax" pesticide. XtendiMax is Monsanto's version of dicamba, an old and highly drift-prone weed-killer. EPA's approval permitted XtendiMax to be sprayed for the first time on growing soybeans and cotton that Monsanto has genetically engineered (GE) to be resistant to dicamba.

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Monsanto Giving Cash to Farmers Who Use Controversial Pesticide

Looks like Monsanto really wants farmers to use XtendiMax. The agribusiness giant is offering a cash incentive to farmers to apply a controversial pesticide linked to 3.1 million acres of crop damage in nearly two dozen heartland states, according to Reuters.

The cash-back offer comes as several states are considering restrictions on the use of the drift-prone and highly volatile chemical. DuPont Co. and BASF SE also sell dicamba-based formulations.

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Cucumber plant injured by dicamba drift. University of Arkansas

Monsanto Ignored Warnings About Dicamba Risks as Far Back as 2011

Monsanto has been quick to point fingers at farmers for the dicamba disaster that drifted across millions of crop acres in the U.S. this summer, but a special report from Reuters suggests that the seed giant knew for years that such a catastrophe could unfold.

The controversy surrounding the highly volatile weedkiller started in early 2016 when Monsanto—in a highly criticized move—decided to sell its genetically modified, dicamba-tolerant Xtend cotton and soybean seeds before getting federal approval for the corresponding herbicide.

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States Face Four-Year Backlog to Investigate Dicamba Damage Complaints

Just this year, more than three million acres of crops across the country have been reportedly damaged by a highly volatile and drift-prone herbicide, dicamba. That's on top of the similar, widespread complaints from the year before.

States such as Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois have now received so many reports of dicamba-linked crop damage that officials face four years of backlogs of cases to investigate, driving up costs for lab tests and overtime, Reuters reported.

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