By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.
Soybean growers risk suffering significant harm if they cannot use existing stocks of dicamba products. This statement was the leading argument in the amicus brief filed by a coalition of agricultural commodity organizations, including the American Soybean Association (ASA), on Tuesday, June 16th, with the Nineth Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief was filed to inform the court that “granting the petitioners’ motion mid-growing season could have catastrophic consequences for growers and America’s agricultural community, which depend on being able to use the dicamba products for the next several weeks. The Court should respect EPA’s expertise in managing existing stocks of formerly registered pesticide products and deny petitioners’ emergency motion,” the brief went on to say.
The grower coalition’s brief, makes a case for farmers caught in a highly frustrating and costly situation amid prime planting season and the narrow weed-control window. Soybeans and cotton are the two crops with the dicamba tolerant trait in question. “Soybean and cotton growers’ massive investments in dicamba tolerant crops could be devastated if this Court forbids the use of existing stocks of the dicamba products. America’s soybean and cotton growers would risk severe financial harm if prevented from using dicamba products this growing season. Soybean and cotton farmers currently have an estimated 64 million acres of dicamba-tolerant crops under cultivation. These farmers have invested billions in seeds and hundreds of millions of dollars in herbicides alone, not including labor, fertilizer, and other costs, expecting that over-the-top applications of dicamba would remain lawful during this growing season. Forbidding such use could leave soybean and cotton growers largely defenseless against weeds resistant to other herbicides, causing potentially significant financial consequences from yield losses,” the brief explained.
“Investments and planting decisions have been made, and most planting has been completed—all based on the realistic expectation that over-the-top application of these dicamba products would be possible through the growing season,” a joint release from the grower coalition stated. Ultimately, the EPA’s management of existing stocks of the formerly registered pesticide products, (Xtendimax, Engenia, and FeXapan) is what is in question by the petitioners’ emergency motion.
When it comes to the ability of farmers to use these products in Ohio, the previous announcement from the Ohio Department of Agriculture on June 11th still stands. The ODA determined that “while use of already purchased product is permitted in Ohio until June 30, 2020, the Court’s decision and US EPA’s order makes further distribution or sale illegal, except for ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant. Application of existing stocks inconsistent with the previously approved labeling accompanying the product is prohibited.”
Ohio soybean farmers wishing to apply their dicamba products need to do so by June 30th.