Dicamba public comment period underway

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 175 views 

A 30-day public comment period and a public hearing date has been set for proposed regulations that allow the use of dicamba in Arkansas on soybean and cotton varieties resistant to dicamba.

A public hearing on the proposed regulations will be held Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 9:00 a.m. at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock. Comments may be made in person at the public hearing.

The Arkansas Agriculture Department’s State Plant Board approved draft regulations for dicamba use in Arkansas at its Dec. 6 meeting. Under the proposed regulations, applications taking place between April 16 and May 20 will be subject to a one-mile buffer zone around research stations, organic crops, specialty crops, non-tolerant dicamba crops and other sensitive crops and will also include a restriction on mixing glyphosate with dicamba. The proposed rules would restrict applications of dicamba from May 21 through Oct. 31.

ASPB made a previous decision to ban dicamba after it received about 1,000 damage complaints in May, 2017, primarily in Northeast Arkansas, potentially caused from dicamba drift. The decision was highly controversial, but the board decided the risks were too significant.

Dicamba is a weed control herbicide, but it has been suspected of causing damage to other crops. ASPB, which investigates and reviews complaints, enacted higher fines on improper dicamba applications meant to serve as a significant deterrent to potential violators.

Written public comments will be accepted from Jan. 7 through Feb. 5. Comments may be mailed to: Attn: Pesticide Division, Arkansas State Plant Board, P.O. Box 1069, Little Rock, AR 72203. Comments will also be accepted online at www.agriculture.arkansas.gov starting Jan. 7.