Awaiting review from the Arkansas Legislature and a signature from the governor, Arkansas’s in-season dicamba ban in steep fine increase is nearly law. Earlier this week the Arkansas State Plant Board voted in favor of an April 16 to Oct. 31 in-season dicamba ban, which has an indefinite stop date.
The regulation will stop farmers from using any kind of dicamba product, including new formulations, for in-season use in soybean and cotton. Pastures, rangeland, turf, ornamental, some forestry and home applicator will be exempt from the rule. In addition to voting in favor of the proposed ban the group also increased fines for off-label use to $25,000.
Dicamba manufacturers stood in staunch opposition to the ban. Representatives from BASF explain they believe the decision is “nothing short of a ban and a major step backwards for Arkansas farmers who are losing an essential weed management tool and will be at a competitive disadvantage to growers in neighboring states,” the company says in a prepared statement. “We will await a decision from the Arkansas governor and legislature.”
The State Plant board received more than 29,000 comments over the 30-day public comment period and 37 in-person comments the day of the hearing.
The State Plant Board “made a decision based on the best evidence from land grant research conducted not only by the scientists of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, but also by their peers in Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, and other states, and from additional information made available from all other sources,” says Mark Cochran, vice president-agriculture at the University of Arkansas.
Those in favor of the ban discussed effects on not only row crops, but gardens, trees and bee keeping as well. In addition many speakers hearkened back to the 2016 and 2017 seasons to point out past error and ask “what will change?”
"We are very disappointed that the Plant Board has voted to put Arkansas farmers at a disadvantage, but we'll continue to follow the process to help those growers have greater choice next season,” Monsanto says in a prepared statement.
Monsanto representatives urged members of the board to consider information from BASF that said only 52% of the soybean acres in the state with Xtend technology purchased the Engenia product. The company questioned whether or not that meant generic products were used.