Arkansas

Arkansas court changes dicamba deadline

Soybean and cotton growers in Arkansas are free to spray the weedkiller dicamba on their crops until June 30 under an order from the Arkansas Supreme Court on Tuesday. It was the latest turnabout in court for use of the herbicide, which has been embraced by farmers as a tool against invasive weeds but criticized as too likely to evaporate from its target areas and land on nearby fields.

Dicamba has sparked a civil war in soybean country

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 approves expanded dicamba use, dismissing scientific and public concerns

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)

Opposition mounts as Arkansas moves to roll back dicamba ban

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.

FERN/Reveal investigation shows EPA ignored decades of science on dicamba drift

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)

Federal court finds Wyoming’s ag-gag laws unconstitutional

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.

Fighting dicamba damage in Arkansas

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.

Class-action suit targets dicamba, Monsanto and BASF

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.

How CAFOs divided an Arkansas community

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)

Six farmers get a pass from Arkansas dicamba restrictions

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.

Arkansas judge cites state immunity in dismissing lawsuit against dicamba ban

The world's largest seed and ag-chemical company, Monsanto, says it is considering its options after a court dismissed its lawsuit challenging the Arkansas ban of its weedkiller dicamba on row crops during the growing season, said the Associated Press. "Arkansas has the toughest restriction in place on dicamba, though several states have imposed other restrictions or requirements."

A ‘David vs. Goliath battle’ over a weedkiller

The Arkansas State Plant Board, responding to nearly 1,000 complaints of crop damage due to dicamba, voted in January to bar use of the herbicide on cotton and soybeans during the 2018 growing season. Now Monsanto, dicamba’s maker, has “sued the board and each individual member,” reports NPR.

Arkansas bars use of dicamba on row crops during the growing season

The bicameral Arkansas Legislative Council approved a ban on spraying the weedkiller dicamba on cotton and soybeans from April 16-Oct. 31 in hopes of preventing damage to neighboring crops. By essentially banning the herbicide for the growing season, Arkansas is at the forefront of several states that set stricter rules on the chemical than mandated by the EPA, which itself tightened its rules on when and how the weedkiller can be used.

Arkansas council set for Friday vote on dicamba ban

A legislative subcommittee supported the Arkansas State Plant Board’s plan to ban use of the weedkiller dicamba from April 16 to Oct. 31 this year. The bicameral Legislative Council is scheduled to take a final vote on the proposal on Friday, said the Associated Press.

Judicial panel to decide whether to centralize dicamba lawsuits

The little-known U.S. Judicial Panel on Mulitdistrict Litigation is scheduled to hear arguments on Jan. 25 in Miami on one of the hottest issues in agriculture — claims of crop damage due to the weedkiller dicamba, said the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The panel will decide whether to centralize more than a dozen lawsuits filed in four states against the makers of dicamba, which would mean one court would oversee the cases.

Arkansas board sticks to April 16 cutoff of dicamba on cotton and soybeans

The Arkansas State Plant Board voted for the second time on dicamba regulations and had the same answer: a ban from April 16 to Oct. 31 on use of the weedkiller on cotton and soybeans, said the Associated Press.

Monsanto asks Arkansas court to ban a ban on dicamba

Faced by hundreds of complaints of crops damaged by dicamba, the Arkansas Plant Board proposed a ban on use of the weedkiller on soybeans and cotton for most of the 2018 growing season.

North Dakota is fourth state to write tougher dicamba rules

State agriculture commissioner Doug Goehring announced “North Dakota-specific” rules on use of the weedkiller dicamba on GE soybeans in the new crop year. They include a ban on spraying when temperatures top 85 degrees and a total cutoff of dicamba use after June 30.

Lawsuit challenges rehab labor in chicken plants

A class-action lawsuit in Arkansas challenges as unconstitutional two drug- and alcohol-rehabilitation programs that require participants to work for free at chicken processing plants and a plastic manufacturing plant, reports Reveal, from the Center from Investigative Reporting. The programs are populated by defendants who are sent to rehab as an alternative to imprisonment.

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