Arkansas - The Arkansas Plant Board will meet later this month in Little Rock to discuss the proposed recommendations from the pesticide committee on the use of Dicamba.
At its Sept. 21 meeting, which is open to the public, the board is expected to discuss a proposal to raise the maximum fine from $1,000 to $25,000 for a violation on the use of the pesticide.
If approved by the plant board, the proposed regulations will head to a legislative committee before being approved.
The Arkansas Dicamba Task Force released a report Monday providing recommendations on usage of the herbicide.
The 128-page report states the Arkansas State Plant Board received a record-breaking number of complaints, alleging misuse and off-target effects by the herbicide Dicamba.
As of Sept. 11, 100 people have filed requests for Dicamba investigations in Craighead County. In Mississippi County, the number jumps to 244. Complaints have also been filed in Clay, Greene, Lawrence, Poinsett, and Randolph counties in Region 8.
In total, 966 complaints have come out of 26 Arkansas counties. Mississippi County has the highest number of complaints.
Due to the record number of complaints, the Arkansas State Plant Board enacted an emergency rule to ban the sale and use of Dicamba for 120 days. That rule went into effect July 11. An 18-member task force was later created to look into the issue.
The task force has been working with the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute to develop recommendations.
Final recommendations from the task force are:
- A cutoff date for the in-crop use of dicamba in Arkansas of April 15, 2018 and the need to revisit the issue for the 2019 growing season after more data and research has been collected and reviewed.
- Amend the current law (Arkansas Code § 2-16-203) allowing there to be "egregious violations" subject to enhanced penalties without the need to prove "significant off-target crop damage."
- Increased independent and university testing of new products before they come to market, with an additional stipulation that the entire technology package (seeds and herbicide) be ready for market at the same time.
Those recommendations will be used by the Arkansas State Plant Board to develop regulations for Dicamba use during the 2018 growing season.
The entire report can be viewed here:
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