Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced today that EPA is re-approving the conditional registration of dicamba products for over-the-top applications on soybeans and cotton for the next five years, despite a 2020 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals ruling against this registration. The circuit court opinion cited “enormous and unprecedented damage” caused by dicamba products in the past few years.
EPA did not immediately enforce the 2020 circuit court ruling, extending the allowed application of dicamba products until July 31. Enforcement of the ruling came down to states, many of which took the signal from EPA to allow continued use until the end of July, effectively allowing post-emergent applications to continue as planned.
Rob Faux, PAN Communications Associate and Iowa farmer, issued the following statement in response to EPA’s announcement:
“It is clear that this decision is about protecting the market share of chemical companies and their corresponding genetically enhanced seed stock rather than providing farmers with choices for the tools they use to grow their crops. Farmers who might want to select a different seed product and those who might want to pursue alternative crops or alternative cropping systems are simply left to wonder how much damage they must expect in the coming months to their fields.
“As early as 2018, leading schools of agriculture were recommending that dicamba technologies be applied as a pre-emergent application rather than an over-the-top spray and the Bader Farms lawsuit revealed that Monsanto was fully aware that the product would cause problems even before they applied for dicamba’s first provisional registration.
“The past growing season simply provided more evidence that dicamba products (BASF’s Engenia, Bayer/Monsanto’s ExtendiMax and Corteva’s FeXipan) is not suitable for over-the-top application, especially during warmer months, when these products are prone to volatilization, resulting in drift damage as many as four days after application. The state of Iowa reported a record number of dicamba-related drift complaints and weed scientists noted that damage was worse than prior years, showing plant injury on a ‘landscape level’ throughout the state.”
Pesticide Action Network works to create a just, thriving food system. PAN works alongside those on the frontlines of pesticide exposure — from farmworkers to rural communities to beekeepers. PAN links local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network. Together, we challenge the global proliferation of pesticides, defend basic rights to health and environmental quality, and work to ensure the transition to a just and viable food system.