Bibliography Tag: dicamba watch
American Soybean Association, ” ASA Steps up Urgency in Search for Answers on Dicamba Damage,” ASA News Release, September 25, 2017.
This American Soybean Association (ASA) news release addresses dicamba drift damage, now an issue in 21 of the 30 soybean producing states, and reiterates their support of new formulations since “farmers need and want new technologies to help fight resistant weeds” but call out the “need to ensure that these products can be used by farmers…safely.” Ron Moore, ASA president and farmer in dicamba-drift affected Illinois is extensively quoted and cites the ASA’s support for independent research at university ag departments in the affected states, and calls for “additional education, applications restrictions, or other actions” to address root causes of the drift problem. While the problem is mainly stemming from soybeans, Moore recognizes the “good neighbor aspect…ASA has a duty to ensure that we are successfully coexisting with other crops.” FULL TEXT
Greg Horstmeier, ” Dicamba: Arkansas Plant Board Unanimously Sets Mid-April Limit,” AgFax, September 22, 2017.
The Arkansas State Plant Board reached a unanimous decision to ban dicamba use in the state from August 16 – October 31, 2018 in an attempt to mitigate damage from drift. This would allow spring and fall burndown and pre-emergence application, but not the over the top spraying on growing crops that the new formulation and dicamba resistant seeds are engineered for. Plus, the board passed a resolution commending the Arkansas weed scientists whose scientific integrity was questioned by Monsanto in their bid to persuade the board to reject the proposed ban. The story includes key new information about volatility research that was presented to the board as part of the hearing process. Herbicide industry reps continued to downplay volatility and point fingers at operator error, while independent weed scientists reported that their findings showed that while volatility was lower immediately after spraying, volatilization continued 36 to 72 hours after application, meaning that “over time the amount of volatility between old and new formulations was not statistically different.” The board also rejected Monsanto’s argument that drift damage appears to not have caused yield loss, and is therefore not important to address. Board members felt this is “beyond the point when you are talking about pesticide stewardship” and bristled at Monsanto’s characterization of the proposed ban as “arbitrary and capricious.” FULL TEXT
Tom Polansek, “EPA to allow use of dicamba next year, but with safeguards,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 19, 2017.
This story reports on the EPA’s decision to allow dicamba use in 2018, although with yet to be determined additional rules to mitigate damages. The acting chief of the herbicide branch Reuben Baris is quoted that “ensuring the technology is available” is the top priority, but that the agency wants to ensure that it is “used responsibly.” This echoes Monsanto’s argument that the fault lies with applicators and not their product. While a cutoff date similar to the one proposed in Arkansas (April 15) is one of the options considered, it is considered unlikely as it would not achieve EPA’s goal of “maintaining dicamba’s usefulness.” FULL TEXT
Carson Thurman, Preston Lee, Mary Margaret Gay, and John McCants, “Part Two: Dicamba Drift Issues Ensnaring Farmer,” Growing Georgia, August 15, 2017.
Summarizes dicamba drift lawsuits thus far. FULL TEXT
Chris Bennett (Bennett, 2017c), “Dicamba Lawsuits Mounting,” AgPro, September 14, 2017.
Reports that farmers in over 10 states are now involved in dicamba lawsuits, and “dicamba-related litigation has only just begun.” The core of the cases is that the new dicamba formulations are inherently “incapable of being routinely and safely applied to cotton and soybeans.” Farmers who suffered damage allege they are victims of Monsanto and BASF putting products on the market that are unsafe. A few specific suits include:
- Bader Farms- This Missouri orchard saw dicamba damage to 7,000 peach trees in 2016 and 30,000 in 2017, with costs in the millions. Monsanto and BASF are listed in the complaint. Monsanto claims that Xtendimax is not the culprit herbicide in this case. First filed in November 2016.
- Landers et. al v. Monsanto Company- This suit is spearheaded by Steven and Dee Landers from Missouri but includes farmers from Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Filed in January 2017.
- Bruce Farms Partnership- Six farms in Arkansas file suit in July 2017 include many similar complaints as other lawsuits but add the claim that dicamba is never safe to spray during the growing season. The complaint states that “given the well-recognized nature and patterns of cultivation in these (and other) regions, the proximity of other non-Xtend crops and plants, and the foreseeable weather patterns and timing of likely application, damage to nontarget crops and plants was inevitable and known to Defendants.” Despite the companies claims to the contrary, farmers experience with the new formulations have shown that they are very prone to drift. “How could Monsanto not know? How did they test and where did they test?” asks attorney Paul Byrd. MOnsanto claims that 99% of Xtendimax applications in 2017 have shown “wonderful results” and that 77% of off-target movements occurred due to the label not being followed ( i.e., operator error).
- Smokey Alley – Also in July, a class action suit in Missouri was filed on behalf of a group of farmers. This suit includes claims of anti-trust activity by BASF, Dupont, and Monsanto. The widespread introduction of dicamba-resistant technology has forced famers to plant the resistant crops to limit damage. “[Farmers] want to plant seeds of their choice, but due to damage potential have to consider buying dicamba-tolerant soybeans from a defensive position,” Attorney Paul Lesko.
- B&L Farms – On July 20, 14 producers from Arkansas file a class action suit against Monsanto and BASF including a ” litany of charges related to irresponsible marketing, product liability, breach of implied warranty, deceptive trade practices and more allegations.” FULL TEXT
Ty Vaughn for Monsanto, “Historic Testing of Our Dicamba Formulation, XtendiMax® with VaporGrip® Technology,” Monsanto website, August 24, 2017.
In response to criticism that volatility was not adequately studied, the this statement reviews Monsanto’s belief that they conducted extensive and “historic testing” of the new formulations, claiming a 90% reduction in volubility. FULL TEXT
ClassAction, “Morgan & Morgan Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Farmers Impacted by Dicamba,” PR Newswire, September 11, 2017.
The firm Morgan and Morgan filed a lawsuit on September 10th against Monsanto, BASF, and DuPont – the major producers of dicamba in the U.S.. The suit was filed in Illinois on behalf of the owner/operator of farm in Broughton, IL where hundreds of acres of soybeans and pumpkins were allegedly damaged by dicamba drift. “Farmers across the country relied upon the defendants’ assurances that these new formulations of dicamba could be used safely and without harm to others. That simply isn’t true, and as a result thousands of farmers are staring down lean harvests and uncertain futures” (Rene Rocha, attorney on the case). They are seeking an permanent injunction against marketing and selling Xtend crops, Xtendimax, Engenia, and Fexapan as well as compensation for losses and legal costs. “The dangers of this herbicide have been understood for decades. Unfortunately, instead of producing safe and effective weed control options, it appears that the defendants are using the threat of harm to eliminate their competition and dictate what crops farmers can and cannot plant.” FULL TEXT
Tom Polansek, “Monsanto fights to sell Arkansas farmers herbicide linked to crop damage,” Reuters, September 7, 2017.
Monsanto has formally petitioned the state of Arkansas to reject the proposed ban on dicamba spraying after April 15. The task force set up by Governor Hutchinson following thousands of complaints of crop damage from dicamba use on herbicide-resistant soybeans. Monsanto calls this an “unwarranted and misinformed” as dicamba is specifically designed for spraying in the summer over growing fields to target herbicide-resistant weeds. The company is claiming that the damage will “probably not cause significant yield losses” and called into question the objectivity and motives of key weed scientists who are working on the issue. Monsanto threatened legal action if their petition is not granted. FULL TEXT
Tom Polansek and Emily Flitter, “EPA eyes limits for agricultural chemical linked to crop damage,” Reuters, September 5, 2017.
More details on proposed EPA regulatory action ahead of 2018 growing season to address dicamba damage crisis. EPA is considering a cut-off date in spring or early summer for dicamba applications, allowing pre-emergence spraying only. The agency calls the extensive damage of this season unacceptable and warns of “significant changes” to the rules. This will impact Monsanto’s bottom line: “If the EPA imposed a April 15 cut-off date for dicamba spraying, that would be catastrophic for Xtend – it invalidates the entire point of planting it.” Article also notes the high cost of dicamba seed as farmers try and decide the benefit of ordering the resistant seed. ” Dicamba-tolerant soybeans cost about $64 a bag, compared with about $28 a bag for Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans and about $50 a bag for soybeans resistant to Bayer’s Liberty herbicide.”
Chuck Abbott, “Dicamba is ‘tremendous success,’ says Monsanto; EPA mulls rule change,” FERN’s AG Insider, August 31, 2017.
Monsanto claims they will have enough dicamba-resistant seed available for half the U.S. soybean acreage, and chief technology officer Robb Fraley described dicamba as a “tremendous success” for most farmers. EPA, however, is considering changes ahead of the 2018 season. “We don’t consider this to be normal growing pains for a new technology,” says an EPA official who oversees herbicide regulations. Monsanto again claims the key is “strict adherence to instructions.” FULL TEXT