Dicamba ruling leaves Iowa’s soybean farmers without key weed control tool

by | Feb 12, 2024 | 5 Ag Stories, News

A ruling handed down by federal Judge David Bury in the U.S. District Court of Arizona in Tucson last week has revoked the approval that allows for the use of dicamba herbicide products on soybeans and cotton. The ruling applies to Iowa’s soybean growers, many of whom have already made their purchases for the 2024 growing season says Matt Herman chief officer of demand and advocacy with the Iowa Soybean Association.

The ruling says that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the public input requirement from the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act before giving its approval for the use of dicamba herbicide products.

This ruling not only takes away a key weed fighting tool for farmers, but the timing of the decision adds layers of problems for growers says Herman.

Herman says the Iowa Soybean Association is asking for the EPA to appeal the ruling and issue a waiver which would allow farmers to use stocks of dicamba products that they have on hand.

Herman says that an existing stocks waiver would immediately help farmers in 2024.

This is not the first time dicamba use has been questioned in the court room since the EPA approved over-the-top application for GMO soybeans and cotton in 2017. That led to complaints regarding drifting into nearby fields and concerns for non-target plants and endangered species.

The American Soybean Association—the national advocacy organization for the industry—and 26 soy state affiliates have sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking the administration for help following a dicamba ruling in a federal district court in Arizona. The court ruled EPA made a procedural error in issuing 2020 dicamba registrations for over-the-top (OTT) use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Because EPA did not offer a public notice and comment period before issuing the registrations, the court ruled the agency was in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and vacated 2020 registrations for XtendiMax, Enginia, and Tavium.

The ruling appears to affect every state in which the products are registered and thus could impact more than 50 million acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton—an area larger than the state of Nebraska.