The USDA has never approved cultivation of genetically engineered wheat, yet for the fourth time since April 2013 a wheat strain resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate was found growing wild in the northwestern United States. The discovery could disrupt wheat exports and it raises questions about USDA's ability to police agricultural biotechnology.
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)
A federal appeals court on the West Coast dismissed as moot a lawsuit by environmentalists to overturn the EPA's 2016 approval of the weedkiller dicamba. The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said the environmental groups could try again with a challenge to EPA's reapproval of the herbicide last November. (No paywall)
Nearly 30 million Americans in 28 states “have some level of atrazine in their tap water,” says the Environmental Working Group in a report on the second-most widely used weedkiller in the country.
Doug Goehring, the state agriculture commissioner in North Dakota, says "90 percent of the problems with off-target movement" of dicamba "may go away" if regulators set a lower application rate for the herbicide. In an interview, Goehring told the Capital Journal that he might allow a lower application rate for crops in his state even if EPA does not revise its rules for the controversial chemical.
A California state court jury awarded $289 million to terminally ill Dewayne Johnson on grounds that Roundup, the most widely used weedkiller in the world, gave the former school groundskeeper cancer. The maker of the herbicide, Monsanto, said it would appeal the verdict "and continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use," reported CNN.
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.
“Off-target” herbicides are creating tremendous discord in farm country, writes weed scientist Ford Baldwin in an essay for Delta Farm Press, adding that “dicamba technology has been the most divisive of my career.”
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."