Not only has the number of pesticide misuse complaints with the Illinois Department of Agriculture dramatically increased each year, but there is a now shift from IDA issuing warning letters, which was mostly the case in 2017 and 2018, to IDA issuing violation notices to applicators that also include monetary penalties of $750 or $1000 for misuse findings in 2019 dicamba investigations.
For comparison, in 2018 IDA issued a total of 233 warning letters and 14 notices of fines. In 2019, there have been 62 warning letters and 98 notices of fines. Fines are pretty evenly split 50/50 between commercial applicators and private applicators.
Not only has there been such a dramatic increase in monetary penalties, but IDA has stated that they are only roughly 60% through the 2019 complaints. IDA sites incomplete recordkeeping on dicamba applications as a "negligent" or "knowing" violation due to the fact that applicators have received specific training on the requirements of the dicamba label and should know that the record must be complete. The "negligent" or "knowing" finding by IDA increases the number of points assigned, which then brings many of the cases into the monetary penalty category. If the errors in application or recordkeeping occurred in an application in one of the 37 Illinois counties that have endangered species, the penalties are more often the higher amount of $1,000.
Please stress to your applicators and farmer customers that ALL the blanks on the dicamba application recordkeeping forms must be recorded within 72 hours of the application. We have posted "fillable" recordkeeping forms on the dicamba resource page here. Please don't hesitate to call IFCA if you have questions or concerns about recordkeeping or violation letters you may receive from IDA.