Today the Arkansas State Plant Board voted 10-3 to pass an April 16 to Oct. 31 in-season dicamba ban for soybeans and cotton. The decision came after five hours of hearing public comments and deliberation by the board.
“I think we made the best decision for Arkansas farmers in 2018,” says Terry Fuller, member of the Arkansas State Plant Board. “If we have a successful year in 2018 hopefully we can tweak this for 2019 in a way that will allow for more application.”
The ban, and fine increase to $25,000, comes after nearly 1,000 official complaints regarding alleged dicamba damage in the state. The State Plant board received nearly 30,000 comments on the matter over the 30-day public comment period and 37 in-person comments.
University representatives, scientists, farmers and others all spoke—both in favor of and opposed to the ban. Those in favor of the ban discussed effects on not only row crops, but gardens, trees and bee keeping as well.
Monsanto representatives urged members of the board to consider information from BASF that stated on 52% of the soybean acres in the state with Xtend technology purchased the Engenia product. The company questioned whether or not that meant generic products were used.
The approved rules will now move to the Arkansas Executive Subcommittee and later be signed by the governor to officially put it into law. On Tuesday, Dec. 12, the Plant Board will host another public hearing and meeting to consider changes to the Arkansas Pesticide Control Act Regulation.
“The proposed regulations would clarify the plant board’s ability to request additional information about a pesticide before it is registered for use in the state of Arkansas,” according to the State Plant Board.
Watch for more updates as the story unfolds.