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Arkansas Plant Board votes to ban dicamba, resolution sent to governor for approval

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Plant Board voted to pass a resolution calling for the ban of a herbicide believed to have caused major crop damage throughout the state.

According to the Times-Herald,  the board voted 9 to 5 last week calling for dicamba to be banned for 120 days.

Board members also added a motion that would “expedite the board’s rule-making process for a new state law to levy fines of up to $25,000 for serious violations of state bans regarding the spraying of dicamba.”

The measure still has to be approved by  Governor Asa Hutchinson.

After the vote, the governor thanked the board for their efforts.

“Once the Plant Board has submitted the emergency rule to my office, I will review the proposed rule in more detail. I have consistently supported the Plant Board in its protection of Arkansas agriculture, and I expect his recommended rule will ultimately go to the legislature for additional review and action.”

Terry Walker, the director of the Arkansas Plant Board, told WREG dicamba itself has been around for years, but combination technology to fight off pesky weeds is new.

It’s effective on the plants that can tolerate the powerful chemical.

The problem is when the chemical drifts to other fields and damages those crops.

“If Dicamba comes in by accident or by intentional application or wind, they are probably going to lose their crops,” added Walker.

The board has received approximately 247 complaints from farmers– a record high for the state of Arkansas.

“It’s everywhere,” said Cody Griffin told the newspaper. “You’d be hard pressed to find a county in the state, especially eastern Arkansas, that hasn’t had some sort of dicamba complaint… The record number of complaints in a single year was 102. We broke 200 a week or two ago, and that doesn’t include farmers who have worked their issues out amongst themselves.”

Ultimately, board members said they hope dicamba will be banned entirely from the state.

“It should have already been banned,” Griffin said. “But, it’s a good thing that it is now. So many acres have already been hurt. We’ve got to protect what’s left.”