Dicamba Ban: Missouri Joins Arkansas in Halting Sale and Use of the Herbicide

    Herbicide application. ©Debra L Ferguson

    Yesterday (July 8, 2017) the Missouri Department of Agriculture joined the Arkansas Plant Board in banning the use and sale of dicamba herbicide. The Missouri ban is effective immediately while the Arkansas ban will take effect on Tuesday, July 11.  

    Missouri’s Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order includes the following dicamba pesticide products labeled for agricultural uses:

    “ALL Dicamba containing products labeled for agricultural use, including new Dicamba formulations (XTENDIMAX™ with VaporGrip™ Technology, EPA Reg. No. 524-617; ENGENIA™ Herbicide, EPA Reg. No. 7969-345; and FEXAPAN™ PLUS VAPORGRIP™ TECHNOLOGY HERBICIDE, EPA Reg. No. 352-913). Furthermore, this order directs all agricultural pesticide users (certified commercial applicators and private applicators) to cease in-crop postemergent use of ALL Dicamba containing pesticide products effective immediately upon issuance of this Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order.”

    Arkansas Decision

    On July 7, after hearing hours of testimony from farmers, Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward, and others in the agriculture industry, a joint ag committee voted to recommend the State Plant Board’s proposed ban be supported.

    At issue was the 2-part rule put forward by the Arkansas State Plant Board that would ban sale and use of dicamba in Arkansas, except for forage and pasture applications, and implement an increase in penalties for infractions.

    The decision was made to enhance penalties, up to $25,000 per infraction, which will go into effect August 1. The emergency rule is effective for 120 days. 

    Yesterday’s testimony began with comments from Ford Baldwin, an Arkansas weed scientist, formerly with the University of Arkansas; and Dan Westberg, a weed scientist with BASF, the company that manufactures Engenia — the only dicamba product allowed for in-crop use after April 15 in Arkansas. Also testifying was Terry Fuller, a farmer and state plant board member who noted that the number of dicamba-related complaints to the board had reached 610 on Friday morning.

    More News on Dicamba

    The ALC’s executive subcommittee meeting opened with Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang outlining the options available to the subcommittee. Within minutes, the subcommittee voted to take no action on the recommendation, enabling the proposed emergency rule to move forward.

    Either chair of the Arkansas Legislative Council or a majority of members of the ALC can, within a day of the subcommittee’s review, call a meeting to reconsider the executive subcommittee’s decision. Such a meeting would have to occur on Monday, July 10.

    The issue has been high profile for weeks — an agriculture story being covered by radio, television stations and reporters that typically don’t cover the ag beat.

    “I never thought I’d see weed science get so embroiled in politics,” Baldwin said.

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