The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s State Plant Board hopes to amend the regulations involving the controversial herbicide dicamba. The board proposed to amend the rule by removing the GPS mapping and online registry requirements for dicamba applications. The proposed regulation change would also permanently allow the use of dicamba for burn-down applications from April 16 to May 25.
It would also clarify the definition of egregious violation for violations occurring before March 11, 2019, and for violations occurring on or after March 11, 2019. Violations prior to March 11, 2019 are egregious if significant off-target crop damage is established. Violations after March 11, 2019 are egregious if the product is intentionally used in violation of the federal label or a state law or rule.
The proposed rule change will be reviewed at an upcoming joint meeting of the House and Senate Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development Committees. The rule will then go to the Arkansas Legislative Council’s Rule Review Subcommittee, followed by review and possible approval by the full Arkansas Legislative Council.
Dicamba, a weed control herbicide, has been highly controversial in its application since the Plant Board received about 1,000 damage complaints in May 2017, primarily in northeast Arkansas. Drift from the application of dicamba was suspected to be damaging other crops.
Previously, the board, which investigates and reviews complaints, enacted higher fines on improper dicamba applications meant to serve as a significant deterrent to potential violators.
Dicamba has been banned in several states. Dicamba has been used as a herbicide for more than 50 years to manage 200 broad leaf weeds.