Missouri Department of Agriculture, Groups Respond To Dicamba Ruling
State ag leaders are reacting to this week’s court ruling invalidating the registration of three herbicides containing dicamba. The Missouri Department of Agriculture released a statement stressing that they had not yet received updated guidance from EPA concerning XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan, and that until they do, the products are still registered for sale and use in Missouri. The department added that they have sent a written inquiry to EPA to ask for further legal clarification, including if farmers would still be able to use the product they bought and planned to use on this year’s crop. However, they will still investigate complaints of off-target movement.
Missouri Farm Bureau also sent a letter to EPA on Friday asking for farmers to use the product they have on hand. In his statement, President Blake Hurst said that farmers should not be penalized for choosing to use the technology prior to Wednesday’s court decision and that the ruling left farmers with more questions than answers.
The ruling made by three judges on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down product registrations granted by the EPA in 2018, that had been scheduled to expire this fall.
Missouri Department of Agriculture statement:
“The dicamba herbicide brands XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan are still registered for sale and use within the state of Missouri and will be treated as such until further guidance is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This interpretation may be updated at any time due to further enforcement guidance from EPA. Our team has worked over the last 36 hours in communication with EPA to request further legal clarification on what the court’s decision means for our state. That communication includes a written inquiry to the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs asking if an immediate implementation of the Existing Stocks Policy within their typical Cancellation Order process would allow farmers to use the technology they’ve already invested in. We see this as a reasonable resolution to the current legal uncertainty and the most practical way to legally dispose of the pesticide. To that end, the Department will use enforcement discretion and will not issue enforcement actions for the sale and use of these three products at this time; however, the Department will continue to investigate complaints of off-target movement.
“Our team acknowledges the precarious position the court’s decision puts farmers, agriculture retailers and academia in. For the last three years, Missouri farmers specifically have dealt with a historic drought, flooding, trade uncertainty and now market volatility due to COVID-19. An overnight decision making this tool illegal is not something that should be done mid-growing season. We call on the EPA to work with the United States Department of Agriculture due to their coordinating biotechnology role.”
Missouri Farm Bureau president Blake Hurst:
“Yesterday’s ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidating the Environmental Protection Agency’s registration of dicamba herbicides has left farmers with many questions but few answers. Today, the Missouri Farm Bureau called on the EPA to take steps to ensure that farmers can use the investments they have made in this technology throughout this growing season. Farmers already have seed in the ground and should not be penalized for choosing to use this technology prior to the 9th Circuit’s decision.”