Arkansas Dicamba Task Force issues recommendations

cupped leaves dicamba drift

The cupped leaves of this soybean plant are a symptom of off-target movement of dicamba — photo by Vicky Boyd

The Arkansas Dicamba Task Force, meeting Aug. 24 at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain, recommended a date-specific ban on dicamba use for the 2018 crop year.

That recommendation and others will now be forwarded to the State Plant Board Pesticide Committee for consideration, according to an article by the Arkansas Farm Bureau.

The Dicamba Task Force recommendations included:

• A cutoff date for the use of all dicamba products of April 15 for the 2018 crop year. The goal would be to re-evaluate usage for 2019 crop year;

• Seek a legislative change that would remove the provision that requires proof of damage before a violation can be ruled as “egregious.” The Task Force believes proof of misuse is enough;

• A call for more independent/university testing before a product comes to market and ensuring an entire package (seed and herbicide) are released at the same time;

• On-label use to follow manufacturer recommendations for downwind sensitivity.

The task force also considered recommending in-person applicator training available in both English and Spanish but deleted that recommendation before the conclusion of Thursday’s session.

That topic could be discussed by the plant board at some point before the product is approved for use in Arkansas.

The pesticide committee will meet soon to discuss the recommendations and propose regulations to the full board, initiating the rule making process. Once the plant board has accepted a recommendation from the committee, the public comment period will be opened and a hearing held.

The Plant Board also plans to hold a hearing Sept. 21 to consider a proposal to increase the maximum civil penalty to $25,000 from $1,000 for egregious violations from applications of dicamba, or an auxin-containing herbicide, or any new herbicide technology released after Aug. 1, 2017.

As of Aug. 23, the Plant Board had received 950 complaints of alleged dicamba misuse in 26 counties, according to the Plant Board website.

Watch the Arkansas Farm Bureau’s video on the dicamba situation below: