JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, has issued a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order on all Dicamba products throughout the state.
The order, which is effective immediately, creates some challenges for farmers in the middle of crop weed control. Action being taken is hesitantly supported by agricultural groups.
Biggest regulation in Missouri Agriculture history! Thanks for the executive order day 1 doing away with regulations. Farmers were exempt!
— Barry Aycock (@BarryAycock) July 8, 2017
According to MDA, the Department’s Bureau of Pesticide Control has received more than 130 pesticide drift complaints that are believed to be related to Dicamba, which has allegedly damaged thousands of acres of crops since Jan. 1, 2017. MDA said the decision to issue a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order in Missouri was made with an abundance of caution and is temporary until a more permanent solution is reached.
“We want to protect farmers and their livelihoods. At the same time, my commitment to technology and innovation in agriculture is unwavering,” Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said. “That’s why I am asking the makers of these approved post-emergent products, researchers, and farmers to work with us to determine how we can allow applications to resume this growing season, under certain agreed upon conditions.”
Matt McCrate, Missouri Soybean Association president, applauded action, releasing the following statement:
“We, at your Missouri Soybean Association, have heard a steady stream of growers’ frustrations in recent weeks around Dicamba – specifically, inversions, suspected off-label use and drift, as well as feeling the need to invest in technology you might not otherwise choose as a type of insurance policy against damage.
“With upwards of 200,000 soybean acres suspected damaged by Dicamba products already during the 2017 growing season, it’s clear that action is needed. The impact already seen across Missouri demands that all involved take steps to prevent additional damage and develop management solutions for this year and the years ahead.
“We respect the regulatory process and stand alongside Missouri’s soybean farmers, industry and regulatory partners working to sustain and improve the available tools and technologies, as well as the resources and protections in place for all involved. Stewardship is a shared responsibility.
“Missouri soybean farmers have long been strong proponents of technology in agriculture, including in the fight against herbicide-resistant weeds. We, the farmers leading your Missouri Soybean Association, have advocated for timely EPA approvals of new technology and for close attention to label and application information. We support the regulatory process and have advocated for tougher penalties for individuals who violate label instructions, especially repeat offenders.
“We take our role as the voice for Missouri soybean farmers on regulatory and policy issues very seriously, including in the area of new technology. MSA supports providing available tools and technologies to assist our growers in sustainable soybean production and in ensuring their freedom to operate their businesses as they so choose. We are working with industry and regulators to address issues and make improvements to keep vital tools, technologies, and protections available, and we appreciate your support, as members of the Missouri Soybean Association, in those efforts.”
Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst echoed the need for action.
“Earlier today the Missouri Department of Agriculture announced a series of steps to address the problem of Dicamba drift. This problem is worst in the southeast part of Missouri, but has affected crops throughout our state. Director Chinn and her staff have been on top of the situation since the problem first appeared, traveling throughout the state to survey damage and visiting with producers and the companies marketing Dicamba-based products.
“After consulting with hundreds of people with firsthand knowledge of the situation, the Department has moved to stop the sale and use of Dicamba while we search for solutions. There are no good answers, no easy solutions, but the Department has acted in a way that both protects a technology important to crop farmers in our state, while also protecting those who are suffering losses. It is now incumbent on the companies active in this market to work with the Department to find a way forward that protects both farmers at risk of losing their crops to weed infestation and those farmers’ neighbors.
“Missouri Farm Bureau has been involved in these discussions since early this summer, and is fully supportive of the actions taken by Director Chinn and the Department. There is much to be learned about the use of this technology, and a temporary pause in the use of Dicamba will allow all parties to work toward a solution. Critics of new technologies in agriculture often accuse those who regulate our industry of being asleep at the switch, failing to act when problems occur. Today’s action puts an end to those accusations. We will work with the Department and other affected parties to move forward in a common-sense manner.”
Pesticide distributors and retailers must immediately stop all sales and offers of sales of all Dicamba products labeled for agricultural use. All agricultural pesticide users, including certified commercial applicators and private applicators, must immediately cease in-crop, post-emergent use of all Dicamba products. Products include, but are not limited to:
- FeXapan herbicide plus VaporGrip Technology, EPA Registration Number 352-913;
- Engenia Herbicide, EPA Registration Number 7969-345; and
- XTENDIMAX with VaporGrip Technology, EPA Registration Number 524-617
Distributors, retailers and pesticide applicators in possession of Dicamba products labeled for agricultural use are advised not to sell or use the products until the stop sale expires or is lifted. Sale, use or removal of such products would be a violation of Section 281.101 RSMo and subject to civil penalties.
“With only a small window left for application in this growing season, I understand the critical need to resolve this issue,” Director Chinn said. “I look forward to working with our farmers, researchers and industry partners to find an immediate solution.”
More detailed information about this issue, Dicamba and the department’s role in investigations is available at Agriculture.Mo.Gov/dicamba.
FEATURED: CHRIS CHINN/COURTESY MDA