Farmer Allegedly Killed Over Dicamba

Confrontation Over Herbicide Drift Leads to Arkansas Shooting Death

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Soybeans were one of several crops allegedly damaged this summer when farmers sprayed herbicide products containing dicamba. (Courtesy photo)

OMAHA (DTN) -- A northeast Arkansas cotton, soybean and corn farmer was shot to death Thursday afternoon, allegedly over an argument about dicamba herbicide drift.

Mississippi County, Arkansas, Sheriff Dale Cook told DTN on Friday that the shooting of 55-year-old farmer Mike Wallace of Monette, Arkansas, was allegedly due to a physical confrontation that escalated regarding the spraying of dicamba.

Allan Curtis Jones, 26, of Arbyrd, Missouri, is in custody on first degree murder charges, but was released from jail on bond. He faces a court appearance on Tuesday in Arkansas.

Arbyrd is in the Missouri Bootheel just about five miles from where the shooting occurred. Cook told DTN that Jones was a farm manager for another farmer in the area. DTN could not find contact information to reach Jones for comment.

Wallace farmed about 5,000 acres of corn, cotton and soybeans. He was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article in early August expressing concern that as much as 40% of his soybean fields had been damaged by dicamba drift and he had filed a complaint over the situation with Arkansas officials, the WSJ reported.…

According to the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department original report, Jones met Wallace on a county road on Thursday afternoon to talk about an unidentified dispute. Jones also brought his cousin along because he believed it could lead to violence. Jones told deputies Wallace confronted him and grabbed Jones by the arm. Jones then pulled away, drew a small-caliber pistol from his pocket and allegedly shot Wallace until the gun was empty.

Jones' cousin stated he could see the pair behind a pickup and saw Wallace grab Jones by the shirt. The cousin, who was not identified, then heard the gunshots.

The report also stated that Wallace was not armed with a weapon.

Dicamba use has been a problem all year in states such as Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee as farmers have been using off-label applications of dicamba herbicide that has drifted into other fields. The dicamba drift became a problem as farmers planted Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans that are tolerant to dicamba, but the Environmental Protection Agency has not approved the dicamba-based formulation herbicide by Monsanto Co. that is supposed to be used with that specific seed.

Earlier in October, EPA executed federal search warrants across southeast Missouri looking into the alleged misuse or misapplication of dicamba on soybeans and cotton. Those warrants were executed largely in counties around the Missouri Bootheel.

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Chris Clayton