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)

Study: GE crops not driving herbicide-resistant weeds, but still cause for concern

In a new study, published in the December 2017 issue of the journal Weed Science, University of Wyoming weed scientist Andrew Kniss finds that GE corn does not produce increased herbicide resistance in weeds relative to non-GE crops, but that soybean and cotton plantings do — but only to a limited extent. (No paywall)

USDA will try again on update of biotechnology regulations

For the third time in a decade, the USDA is starting anew on modernizing its regulation of biotech plants. As part of the effort, the agency ditched a proposal that would have covered genome-editing techniques if the products created posed a plant pest or noxious weed risk.

Dicamba blamed for damage to oak trees in Midwest and South

State officials in Illinois, Iowa and Tennessee have received hundreds of complaints blaming the weedkiller dicamba for damage to oak trees this summer, says the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting (MCIR). Usage of dicamba — and complaints of crop damage — has increased with the release of soybean and cotton varieties genetically modified to tolerate doses of the chemical.

Scientists skip Monsanto summit on dicamba

In an effort to quell complaints about the weedkiller dicamba, Monsanto invited dozens of weed scientists to a summit in St. Louis, “but many have declined, threatening the company’s efforts to convince regulators the product is safe to use,” said Reuters. The EPA is considering additional rules governing how and when the herbicide can be sprayed onto strains of cotton and soybeans genetically modified to tolerate the chemical.

Dicamba damage tops 2.5 million acres, mostly in Midwest and South

A University of Missouri weed specialist says the weedkiller dicamba has damaged more than 2.5 million acres of cropland this year, mostly in the Midwest and South, reports Harvest Public Media. The researcher, Kevin Bradley, says, “I don’t know that we’ve ever in our agricultural history seen one active ingredient do so much damage across one nation like that.”

Lighthizer warning: Buy GMOs or expect a fight

The Trump administration will attack overseas regulations that restrict the export of GMO crops and other products resulting from American technological innovation, said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer at the first meeting of a newly created task force on rural America.