Heading into 2020, Jean Payne, president of Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA), says it was a priority for her members to emphasize pesticide stewardship.
“In 2019, we ended up being the state that led all states in a record number of dicamba complaints. So going into 2020, we had it on the forefront of our to-do list to get that number of complaints down.”
As of mid-July, there have been 70 dicamba related complaints in Illinois in 2020. Last year there were 700.
“And I think we can predict we’ll end up with less than 100 complaints this year,” Payne says.
She is particularly proud of how the professional applicators stood by their stewardship amid the uncertainty after the June 3 court case in the 9th circuit court of appeals which vacated the federal labels for three of the over the top dicamba products.
“We were one of the few states where our Department of Ag said our use is tied to the registration so if it’s been vacated, you can’t use it. We had five days of no dicamba applications, and those were some optimum application days, but we did get a five day extension on our cutoff from June 20 to June 25. And when commercial applications resumed, it really highlighted that even though we were in a pandemic, great communication was maintained with our regulatory agencies and us and our members to communicate exactly what was going on,” she says.
Looking ahead, she says it’s paramount retailers have certainty in the products they are able to sell so they can help farmers make the best choices for their business.
“The registrants are working on a reregistration label and have told us that they hope to have an answer by the end of August, which I think is prudent. The sooner we know the status of the dicamba labels, then retailers and farmers can take that information and make the right decisions,” she says.
Payne discusses more on dicamba as well as the curveballs that COVID-19 threw ag retailers in The Scoop podcast. You can hear the full interview here: