An Arkansas legislative panel voted to ban the spraying of dicamba weedkiller after mid-April to protect farmers from potential crop damage. A legislative subcommittee’s early vote supported the state Plant Board’s proposed ban. Then, Friday, a Legislative Council officially voted in favor of the ban. The ban will extend until the end of October. Monsanto claims that dicamba-based herbicides are safe when used according to label restrictions.
Dicamba herbicides were linked to millions of acres of crop damage in the United States during the 2017 growing season, Reuters reports. The ban reportedly has further-reaching implications too. Reuters reported that the state ban of dicamba-based herbicides makes soybean and cotton seeds genetically engineered by Monsanto to resist the herbicide less attractive as crop choices.
Last year, farmers reported that new formulations of the herbicides evaporated and drifted away from the intended areas. This drift, according to farmers’ reports, harmed crops in other areas, because not all of their crops were genetically modified to resist the herbicide.
Monsanto, currently being acquired by Bayer AG, filed a lawsuit in an attempt to reverse the state’s restrictions. The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court claiming the Plant Board “exceeded its authority in prohibiting the weed killer,” according to U.S. News & World Report.
Minnesota, Missouri, and North Dakota are among other states that have restricted dicamba spraying for the upcoming growing season. Still, Seeking Alpha reported that Arkansas’ new restrictions are “the strictest limits” ever imposed on the herbicide product.
The state banned Monsanto’s XtendiMax with VaporGrip last year after the manufacturer failed to provide adequate testing data as requested by Arkansas state officials.