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Dicamba decision looms for governor; limit herbicide’s use, Arkansas panel urges

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will soon have to choose between the recommendations of his own Plant Board or the wishes of Monsanto, the St. Louis-based seed giant.


The issue is dicamba -- or, rather, the misuse of it.


Some farmers illegally sprayed the herbicide this summer, damaging thousands of acres of cotton, soybeans, fruits and vegetables in Arkansas and neighboring states. The federal Environmental Protection Agency served search warrants in Missouri. That state's largest peach farm has sued Monsanto. The mess hit rock bottom Oct. 27 with the fatal shooting of an Arkansas farmer.


Monsanto has a new dicamba-based herbicide just recently approved for the market.


The Plant Board, a part of the state Department of Agriculture, has 16 members who represent the interests of every facet of Arkansas agriculture, including row crops, forestry, seed and herbicide dealers, livestock, aerial applicators and pest management. By unanimous vote in late November, the board said it wants to further restrict the use of dicamba.


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