‘Dicamba fatigue’: State regulators anticipate more off-target damage from Bayer’s controversial herbicide in 2020

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Arkansas farmer David Wildy inspects a field of soybeans that were damaged by dicamba in 2017. Credit: Dan Charles/NPR

Three consecutive years of off-target dicamba injury is taking its toll on the agricultural industry. Leo Reed even has a name for it: dicamba fatigue.

“States recognize that both we and the [EPA], we’re all suffering from dicamba fatigue — staffing shortages and issues and processing a huge number of complaint cases again this year,” said Reed, an Indiana state pesticide regulator serving as president-elect of the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO).

Communication with EPA over dicamba problems hit an all-time low in 2019. Unlike the weekly conference calls and data reporting of 2018, very little regular communication between state regulators and EPA occurred this year, Reed noted.

Related article:  Ethiopia remains a net food importer, despite its rich farming history. Can GMO crops help?

The federal agency had its first formal contact with states regarding dicamba problems in 2019 on Nov. 26, in an hour-long conference call, Reed noted. The most pressing question that states have for EPA remains unanswered so far, however, he added.

“The No. 1 question we need an answer to is: Does EPA consider plant damage from dicamba usage an ‘unreasonable adverse effect?’ We need a yes or no.”

Until then, regulators are not optimistic that 2020 will bring relief for overworked regulators and state agricultural departments.

Read full, original article: Dicamba Fatigue: States Report Another Year of Dicamba Injury to EPA

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