Viewpoint: Court-enforced dicamba weedkiller ban is about eliminating GMOs, not protecting farmers

XtendiMax Sprayer
Credit: Oklahoma Farm Report

….[T]he U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit …. banned the use of Dicamba weed control products at the request of several environmental [groups], saying the Environmental Protection Agency had not properly evaluated the risk of the product.

This decision came in the middle of the growing season when farmers were using the product …. The EPA responded by telling farmers they could go ahead and use any products they had on hand. The environmentalists went back to the Court and asked it to ban use of the products immediately …. The Court then decided to allow farmers to use the supplies on hand.

What is at stake here is tremendous. An estimated 64 million acres of dicamba-tolerant seed is already in the ground—with no viable weed control alternative that can realistically be deployed.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Regulatory overreach looms as obstacle for New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) in agriculture

Expected yield loss for soy and cotton is as high as 50%, with losses estimated at as much as $10 billion. This also sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to regulating our food and agricultural system.

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Until now, government regulatory agencies have been given the authority to regulate the safety of our food and the safety of the tools used to produce it.

The EPA called the case against Dicamba “a distorted characterization.” The plaintiffs in the case represent a group of well-known, anti-technology organizations with a good deal of funding from the organic food industry.

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