Missouri takes steps to prevent misuse of controversial herbicide

Crop damage from the last growing season is done, but one Missouri lawmaker is taking steps that aim to prevent future devastation from dicamba, the herbicide widely blamed for a rash of illegal spraying that sowed financial pain and discord in farming communities across the region.

Missouri state Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, has introduced three bills aiming to avoid a repeat of the scenario that unfolded on farms across his Bootheel district last summer:

  • HB 605: Would require the Missouri Department of Agriculture to determine whether herbicides sold in the state are “inherently volatile” and develop usage restrictions for those meeting certain criteria.
  • HB 606: Would prohibit the sale of herbicide-resistant seed if the corresponding herbicide has not also garnered approval.
  • HB 662: Would raise existing fines for illegal herbicide use from $1,000 per field to $1,000 per acre.

Rone is hopeful that toughened-up penalties on illegal herbicide use will come to pass, but recognizes that time is of the essence to help protect growers this year.

Neighboring state Arkansas set a bold example of new dicamba restrictions last week, when the state’s Plant Board passed restrictions that only permit the use of certain types of dicamba and would only allow one variety, Engenia, to be applied from April 15 through Sept. 15.

Creve Coeur-based Monsanto responded to the new restrictions with disappointment, as the dicamba variety approved for use is produced by chemical company BASF, not Monsanto, which produces Xtendimax.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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