The controversial weedkiller dicamba, which has wreaked havoc in soybean country over the last two years, is dividing communities and pitting neighbor against neighbor as the 2019 growing season gets underway. FERN's latest story, a radio piece produced with Reveal and the podcast Us & Them, takes listeners inside these divided communities in Arkansas.(No paywall)
Arkansas regulators voted on Wednesday to relax restrictions on the controversial weedkiller dicamba, despite testimony from top scientists and scores of concerned citizens who urged them to reject the move in a public hearing. (No paywall)
The Arkansas State Plant Board voted to roll back restrictions on the drift-prone herbicide dicamba late last week, over the objections of a coalition of sustainable agriculture and conservation groups. The board denied, without a hearing, an organic farmer’s petition to uphold the restrictions.
A new investigation by FERN and Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Journalism, shows that the EPA "ignored scientists’ warnings and extensive research that showed dicamba would evaporate into the air and ruin crops miles away, according to documents obtained through public records requests and lawsuits. Instead, the EPA’s approval was based on studies by the companies that manufacture dicamba, which independent scientists say were seriously flawed." (No paywall)
The U.S. District Court in Wyoming ruled Monday that the state’s ag-gag laws are unconstitutional. The ruling comes after several years of litigation between the state and plaintiffs who argued the laws were written solely to deter monitoring of the effects of agriculture on the state’s water, land, and air.
After nearly 1,000 complaints from neighbors about damage from the weedkiller dicamba, the Arkansas State Plant Board banned use of the herbicide on soybeans and cotton during the growing season this year. Yet state officials still are receiving complaints about dicamba, especially in the northeastern corner of the state, near the Missouri border, says NPR's The Salt, and the state is looking for the culprits.
A class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in St. Louis says Monsanto and BASF genetically engineered dicamba-resistant crops knowing the weedkiller was likely to harm neighboring crops, and that "everything they did and failed to do increased the risk," reports Harvest Public Media.
As a young man, Johnny Carroll Sain dreamed of owning an industrial hog farm like his uncle. Eventually, he did, raising hogs for Cargill on 55 acres in northern Arkansas. He's out of the business now, and in FERN's latest piece, published with Arkansas Life, he explores how industrial meat production has damaged the environment, the economy, and the social cohesion in his rural community. (No paywall)
An Arkansas judge ruled that a State Plant Board regulation that bars use of the weedkiller dicamba on cotton and soybeans from April 16-Oct. 31 does not apply to six farmers, said DTN/Progressive Farmer. The growers sued the board last year over the ban and wound up in a legal limbo due to a state Supreme Court ruling that state agencies are protected from lawsuits under the doctrine of sovereign immunity.