The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has received more than 1,000 dicamba complaints since April. If a farmer is found to be responsible for the contamination, they could face fines up to $100,000 and jail time.
Unlike dicamba, the dicamba situation isn’t going away anytime soon.
Crop damage caused by the volatile pesticide continues to be a source of concern throughout the nation. Hundreds of farmers in at least 21 states have submitted complaints stating that the weed-killer has infiltrated their land, causing damage to non-resistant crops and lowering harvests. Many farmers might lose tens of thousands of dollars as a result of this.
As of August 23, there had been 950 complaints in Arkansas alone. Arkansas and Missouri voted on July 11 to ban the use of dicamba for 120 days (the rest of the growing season). Arkansas also raised the maximum penalties for misusing herbicides from $1,000 to $25,000, effective August 1.
Arkansas Department of Agriculture
Asa Hutchinson, the governor of Arkansas, went on a speaking tour earlier this month to talk to farmers about dicamba and other issues. He also established a task team to address the issue, but it has yet to provide any suggestions. On August 24, it had its second meeting.
Dicamba-tolerant soybeans account for half of the anticipated soybean plantings in Arkansas, according to Monsanto. It’s a total of 1.5 million acres. This equal division among farmers has prompted confrontations and cost at least one man his life, with many looking out for their own livelihoods at the expense of their neighbors’.
Dicamba-tolerant soybeans account for half of Arkansas’ soybean production.
Some people, on the other hand, have little motivation to report their neighbors, even if they have been damaged by dicamba. They’re trusting their fingers that insurance money will cover their losses from lower yields. They could have a better chance of succeeding if they sue herbicide manufacturers like Monsanto, DuPont, and BASF.
Rene Rocha, an attorney with ClassAction.com, is now pursuing these lawsuits. Contact us immediately for a free, no-obligation legal consultation if you or a loved one experienced a diminished crop production or other losses as a consequence of dicamba. You don’t have to pay anything until we make a profit for you.
The Crisis Isn’t Just in Arkansas and Missouri
While Arkansas—particularly Eastern counties such as Mississippi, Crittenden, and Craighead—is considered the epicenter of the dicamba dilemma, the problem affects a large area of the nation, stretching from North Dakota to Georgia.
Experts believe that dicamba’s ability to volatilize and migrate offsite has already impacted over three million acres. And, according to Monsanto, there are 18 million acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans in the United States, that figure will only rise.
It was just three weeks ago that the damaged area was 2.5 million acres instead of 3.1 million. That’s an almost 25% growth in only a few weeks, implying some frightening projections for the future.
dicamba-affected acreage estimates per state; source: University of Missouri
Similarly, the overall number of national complaints increased by more than 50 percent, from 1,411 to 2,242. The figures above are from 13 days ago, so they’ve already grown even more. The number of complaints in Arkansas, for example, has increased by 74 percent.
The most common question South Dakota State University weed science coordinator Paul O. Johnson received at Dakotafest, “the premier ag event of the Northern Plains,” was how badly dicamba-affected soybeans will be struck in terms of yield. “Trying to estimate soybean yield response to observed short-term plant damage symptoms produced by dicamba harm is practically difficult,” Mr. Johnson said.
Adding Vagueness to Volatility with 4,550-Word Instructions
It’s bad enough that Monsanto’s new, apparently enhanced dicamba formulation, XtendiMax, seems to be far more volatile than the corporation claims. Worse, it comes with a 4,500-word instruction label that many farmers find confusing.
When the wind speed is between three and fifteen miles per hour, XtendiMax may be employed. It may only be used 24 inches above the crops at most. Farmers must make modifications if the temperature increases beyond 91 degrees Fahrenheit (as it often happens in regions like Arkansas throughout the summer). Farmers must wash their equipment three times after applying dicamba.
“To get it just correct, you have to be a meteorologist.”
With so many precise instructions, it’s easy to overlook a key piece of information—or, even worse, not read the instructions because they’re so lengthy. Bob Hartzler, an agronomy professor at Iowa State University, told Reuters, “The limitation on these labels is beyond anything that has ever been seen before.”
“To get it just right, you have to be a meteorologist,” Missouri farmer Hunter Rafferty said. Monsanto claims that their instructions are straightforward, and that dicamba usage is most likely the result of farmers failing to follow them. However, the more complaints—and lawsuits—filed, the less plausible that argument seems.