Issue Date: August 8, 2016
Illegal dicamba use damaging soybeans in U.S.
More than 100 farmers in Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee have filed complaints against their neighbors for illegally spraying the herbicide dicamba (3,6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid) on soybeans genetically modified to tolerate the chemical. The unhappy farmers claim that the herbicide drifted onto their property, damaging soybeans that were not engineered to tolerate it. Small amounts of dicamba cause soybean leaves to curl into cuplike shapes. Earlier this year, Monsanto began selling soybeans under the name Xtend that tolerate both dicamba and the herbicide glyphosate. The soybeans were developed because many weeds are resistant to glyphosate. But EPA has not approved the use of dicamba on soybeans, so U.S. farmers cannot legally spray the chemical on Xtend soybeans. EPA proposed in April to allow such uses for five years. The agency would then review whether weeds are becoming resistant to dicamba before reapproving such uses. EPA expects to decide on the proposal by early fall. USDA declared last year that Extend soybeans are unlikely to pose a risk to other plants, paving the way for their entry into the market.
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