EPA Offers Clarity on Dicamba Use After Court Ruling

Reuters writer Tom Polansek reported this week that, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday that farmers can use existing supplies of an agricultural weed killer linked to crop damage, after a federal court blocked sales and use of the product last week.

The EPA said farmers have until July 31 to use supplies of dicamba-based herbicides that they had on hand as of June 3. The products, sold by Bayer AG and rivals, are known to drift away and damage crops that are not resistant to the chemical.

“A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on June 3 that the EPA had substantially understated the risks related to the use of the herbicides, which are sprayed on genetically engineered soybeans and cotton.”

The Reuters article noted that, “The decision confused farmers who bought herbicides months ago as they wrap up planting in the U.S., the world’s No. 2 soybean exporter. Different responses to the decision from states subsequently created an uneven playing field for growers.

“‘EPA’s order will mitigate some of the devastating economic consequences of the court’s decision for growers,’ the EPA said in a statement.

“About 60% of the U.S. soybean crop this year is expected to be seeded with Bayer’s dicamba-resistant Xtend soybeans, according to Bayer. They need to be sprayed with the herbicide to ward off weeds that have developed a tolerance for another chemical, glyphosate.”

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