Monsanto sued Arkansas regulators on Friday for banning its version of an herbicide that’s drawn complaints from farmers across several states who say the weed killer has drifted onto their crops and caused widespread damage.
Monsanto asked a state judge to block the Arkansas Plant Board from enforcing a rule it adopted last year that prevents its dicamba product from being used each year from April 15 through Sept. 15.
Dicamba has been around for decades, but problems arose over the past couple of years as farmers began to use it on soybean and cotton fields where they planted new seeds engineered to be resistant to the herbicide. Because it can easily evaporate after being applied, the chemical sometimes settles on neighboring fields.
The panel approved the restriction on Monsanto’s XtendiMax herbicide in November, and several months later the state adopted a wider temporary ban that included other dicamba weed killers in response to farmer complaints. The plant board last month rejected a petition from the company to allow its herbicide to be used.
Monsanto is challenging the restrictions as Arkansas moves closer to adopting another temporary ban on dicamba herbicides for next year.