On Nov. 8, a big decision was made on a herbicide that some farmers claim has ruined their crops. After a full day of listening to farmers, the Arkansas State Plant Board voted to move forward with a rule change that would restrict the use of dicamba.
Dicamba is an herbicide used by farmers to keep pigweeds away from soybeans. In September, the State Plant Board proposed a change that would allow farmers to use dicamba, but only within a certain time window.
“Tell me who is going to take responsibility for the damage this product has caused," said farmer David Wildy who believes dicamba ruined his crops.
The one thing farmers agree on is dicamba works to keep away pigweeds, but some farmers believe its uncontrollable, ruining crops on farms that don’t have the dicamba-resistant technology.
"Mistakes were made and I believe a lot of people will learn from mistakes and they won’t happen again," said farmer Fred Stuckey who is in favor of using dicamba.
The State Plant Board approved a restriction on its use, prohibiting the use of dicamba between April 16 and Oct. 31. 27,055 comments were for this change and 409 against it.
"It cannot be used safely or responsibly," argued farmer Adam Chappell.
Those against the proposal wanted a later cutoff date.
"The April 16 cutoff date is nothing but a ban," said lawyer Grant Ballard.
Across the country, the company Monsanto has been in the spotlight of this conversation as one of the makers of dicamba.
"With training and education, these products can be used safely and effectively," Partridge said.
Vice President of the company, Scott Partridge, believes his product is more controllable than what Arkansas farmers experienced. His form of dicamba has not been made available in Arkansas.
"It’s a tremendous tool desperately needed to help farmers increase productivity," Partridge said.
Disappointed in this rule change, Monsanto still plans to fight for farmers right to their product, sending us this statement: "We are very disappointed for Arkansas farmers but we'll continue to follow the process to help those growers have greater choice next season."
"The State Plant Board is committed to keeping our farmers equipped with the most updated technology available and dicamba is a product that is on the cutting edge of technology and they’re aware of that so this is not a ban to all dicamba products, its simply state regulations for this product," said Adriane Barnes with the Arkansas Agriculture Department.
This regulation change is now subject to final approval by the executive subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council.