Dicamba Beyond the Soybean Fields

DTN writer Emily Unglesbee reported today that, “Images of cupped soybean fields have come to symbolize the dicamba injury crisis underway in farm country in the U.S. But what happens when chemicals like dicamba move beyond the soybean fields of commercial farmers onto the property of rural homeowners, business owners and organic and specialty crop farmers?

“In South Dakota, a vegetable farm that was destroyed by dicamba in a matter of weeks last year was hit again this June by another cocktail of herbicides, including dicamba.

An elderly Illinois homeowner has watched her carefully landscaped yard wither for two years in a row from dicamba injury.”

The DTN article noted that, “A resort owner in Tennessee is fighting to save his gardens, plants, trees and a nearby historic state park after the second consecutive year of dicamba damage.

“Over the course of two months, DTN conducted dozens of interviews on non-soybean dicamba injury and found that injured property owners like these face an uphill battle to justice.

State departments of forestry, natural resources and agriculture pass responsibility for non-soybean dicamba injury back and forth between each other, like a hot potato. State regulators are struggling to keep up with the pace of complaints, leading to long delays and unresolved investigations. Even state investigations that find a pesticide applicator at fault can only fine the applicator — not compensate the victim. Laboratories are still learning how to test for dicamba residue effectively, and at what levels. Unless an applicator was flagrantly off label, insurance companies maintain that they are not responsible when dicamba volatilizes and moves off-target. The companies who manufacture the new dicamba herbicides insist that volatility is rare and dicamba injury unusual.”

Today’s article added that, “At the end of the day, most of the property owners interviewed face serious financial losses that they will never recover. Some wonder if they will ever be able to grow vegetables or trees in their patch of countryside again if dicamba-tolerant soybean acres and their accompanying dicamba use continues to swell.”

This entry was posted in Agriculture Law. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.