AUGUSTA, Ark. — Take a trip through farm country and, in addition to brown, flooded fields, you'll find new life to the debate over weed killer "Dicamba."
After bans, un-bans and restriction, THV11's Rolly Hoyt heard from farmers divided over its use and effects.
A lot of people got mad when Apple forced us all to change the way we connect to their devices. Well, a similar debate rages right now in Arkansas's farm belt. The powerful weed killer Dicamba has farmers weighing whether to use it, despite the potential dangers to their livelihood.
"We all want to have or have rights to farm. I don't want to take anybody's rights away. Either family business or if they're new farmers," Brad Doyle, owner of Eagle Seed, said.
But Dicamba has done such a good job, it's causing a conflict in the fields.
"Over the years, though we've used it so much and pigweed has evolved, it's not as effective as it once was," Doyle said.
That means the big crops in Arkansas -- soybeans and cotton -- now start out as seeds resistant to the spray.
Doyle owns Eagle Seed as well as a family farm. He and his wife make the resistant seeds that become big bucks for soybean producers, but there's a looming danger for vegetable and organic farmers like Shawn and Dallas Peebles.
Because Dicamba can drift and do damage.
"Chemical trespass is real. And that's what it is. It's trespassing no different than you coming on my property in the middle of the night without my permission," Shawn said.
Peebles said if Dicamba drifts on to his property, he could potentially be shut down for three years. That's 60 people out of work and reason enough for others to get angry.
"I already know of farms that have had every combine that they had on the farm burned to the ground this year because they got Dicamba on somebody else and they got mad," Shawn said.
"Sadly, Dicamba has driven a wedge in some communities against lifelong neighbors," Doyle said.
Officials here hope Dicamba stays put and the threat blows over.
"Our small towns are losing people every day, so we have to do everything we can. I hope they can find a happy medium to this and make everybody happy," Augusta Mayor Jeff Collins said.
The state plant board will restrict Dicamba use from mid-May through November. Those proposed restrictions are in the public comment stage before being forwarded on to governor Asa Hutchinson for his approval.