Ag Policy Blog

BASF, Monsanto Respond to Dicamba Bans

By Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor

Arkansas and Missouri both took action Friday to ban the use of dicamba-mix herbicide applications in their respective states after waves of complaints from farmers who were not using the technology.

DTN reached out to both BASF and Monsanto for comment on the bans. The companies responded late in the afternoon.

BASF's statement focused on the Arkansas ban. A company representative had testified before the joint Agriculture committees early Friday.

"We disagree with the Arkansas statewide ban on dicamba applications. This decision was made despite hearing testimony from many of the state’s growers opposed to the ban and who are using the product with success," BASF stated.

BASF defended its herbicide technology despite nearly 600 complaints about drift contamination, mainly in the eastern part of the state. BASF stated that banning Engenia "needlessly punishes growers who have successfully and lawfully used the product, while failing to provide an effective deterrent to growers who may be willing to ignore the ban. In addition, the ban fails to address the need for effective enforcement of label requirements for Engenia’s use."

Engenia's label requirements: http://www.cdms.net/…

BASF said the ban "leaves growers defenseless against evasive weeds, depriving them of a critical crop protection tool mid-season. Without an effective herbicide, Arkansas farmers are faced with increased weed pressure and reduced yields, placing them at a disadvantage to farmers in the rest of the country."

BASF said the company will work with the Arkansas Plant Board and the Department of Agriculture on the dicamba technology taskforce proposed by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, to develop a longer-term solution.

"We will continue to actively visit growers who make a request for an in-person consultation, whether they applied Engenia herbicide or not. Engenia herbicide was introduced to the market by BASF in December 2016 and has been successfully applied throughout the country this season. BASF is proud to support growers with a solution to control troublesome weeds."

Monsanto also issued statements regarding the Arkansas and Missouri bans.

Monsanto noted, "Farmers are the lifeblood of our company." Monsanto stated the company focused on helping farmers be successful and many of its employees have ties to the farming communities. Monsanto stated the company is concerned about reports of potential crop injury.

However, Monsanto stated the company is opposed to banning dicamba. "We sympathize with any farmers experiencing crop injury, but the decision to ban dicamba in Arkansas was premature since the causes of any crop injury have not been fully investigated. While we do not sell dicamba products in Arkansas, we are concerned this abrupt decision in the middle of a growing season will negatively impact many farmers in Arkansas."

Regarding Missouri's ban on selling or use, Monsanto noted "Missouri has reiterated its commitment to allow farmers to have access to technology" and the temporary ban allows Missouiri to investigate and consider additional special labeling restrictions for the rest of the 2017 growing season. Monsanto sells XtendiMax in Missouri.

"Monsanto will actively engage in that process and appreciates the continued collaboration with the State of Missouri," the company stated.

Monsanto stated it is complying with Missouri's order "and encourages all growers, retailers and distributors to do the same."

Monsanto said the company "spent years developing the XtendMax with VaporGrip Technology to minimize the potential for off-site movement. We want to stress how important it is that growers and applicators who use our product follow the label requirements and any local requirements."

Monsanto said the company will remain "actively engaged" in the debate around dicamba so farmers can use its crop technology successfully.

"We strongly encourage farmers using approved dicamba products in other states to make their voice heard," Monsanto stated. "Share how important this tool is to your farm and how you are using it responsibly. We have heard those stories. To help ensure your continued access to dicamba products, make sure your elected officials and relevant agencies hear those stories, too."

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