Originally published: Enviro.BLR
The Arkansas State Plant Board amended the Regulations on Pesticide Use to include tight restrictions on the use of pesticides containing the active ingredient dicamba.
Effective January 27, 2017, the controversial new regulations:
• Banned all dicamba acid and DMA (dimethylamine) formulations unless used on pastureland at least 1 mile from susceptible crops;
• Limited the use of DGA (diglycolamine salts of 3,6-dichloro-o-anisic acid) formulations of dicamba, including Monsanto’s XtendiMax®, until April 15. Anyone using DGA-based herbicides must be trained and certified by the state; and
• Permitted the in-season use of BASF’s Engenia® from April 15 through September 15 on Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybean varieties. Those using Engenia must abide by a quarter-mile downwind buffer and a 100-foot buffer for all other directions.
The strengthened regulations arose due to extensive illegal spraying of dicamba in 2015 and 2016. Though dicamba is an old chemical, Monsanto recently released cotton and soybean seeds that were resistant to dicamba damage. As a result, many farmers who planted those seeds chose to use old formulations on their dicamba-resistant plants, putting neighbors' crops in peril. These practices caused major drift-related damage to row crops, vegetables, and orchards and raised tensions in the agricultural community, including one conflict that lead to a fatality.
Governor Hutchinson, in his approval of the new regulations, also expressed his intention to ask the legislature to increase the maximum civil penalties for more serious dicamba-related violations from $1,000 to $25,000 in the next session.