Friday, December 08, 2017

N.D. walks back a new rule for dicamba use

North Dakota recently announced statewide rules restricting the use of the controversial herbicide dicamba, after increasing reports of crop damage, but the state Agriculture Department has now changed its mind about one of the new rules.

"The state Agriculture Department has decided not to require farmers or others who apply dicamba to first notify the agency, but it will maintain a restriction on when it can be sprayed," Blake Nicholson reports for the Associated Press. "Both decisions are in keeping with the overall goal of mitigating herbicide drift that can damage neighboring fields, state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said." Goehring decided to walk back the rule because application information will be available through federal record-keeping requirements, so an extra law isn't necessary.

North Dakota and Arkansas have introduced state-specific rules on dicamba use, feeling that the federal regulations approved by the Environmental Protection Agency aren't doing enough to limit crop damage by the notoriously volatile herbicide. "The Environmental Protection Agency in October announced a deal with agribusinesses Monsanto, BASF and DuPont under which dicamba products will be labeled as 'restricted use,' requiring additional training and certifications for those who use it and limiting when and how it can be sprayed," Nicholson reports.

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