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USA - Ag groups react to Arizona Court’s dicamba rulingqrcode

Feb. 9, 2024

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Feb. 9, 2024


Agricultural Retailers Association issues statement on dicamba's label vacature

On Tuesday a federal District Court in Arizona vacated the registration for over-the-top (OTT) applications of dicamba on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. OTT dicamba products Xtendimax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF) and Tavium (Syngenta) were all included in the decision which is national in scope.

ARA disagrees with this decision. It removes a determination that should be made by a sciencebased regulatory agency to a federal court, and the timing of the decision will be extremely disruptive to ag retailers, distributors, manufacturers and farmers who made plans to use these products in 2024.

People have different opinions about whether OTT dicamba should be registered and used. But surely we can agree that we're all better off - including consumers and the environment - if these decisions are made by regulators with scientific expertise during the registration review process rather than by the federal courts or activist litigators which lack that expertise.

The timing of the decision is problematic. Farmers have already made their decisions about what varieties of cotton and soybean seed they want to plant in 2024, and retailers are already stocking not only the seed but also the herbicides these growers will need for their systems. A grower who chooses dicamba-tolerant seed is also choosing to use a dicamba product in their weed control program; otherwise they would not buy dicamba-tolerant seed. This court decision, issued after those plans have been made and while retailers are procuring the products necessary to fulfill them, comes at the worst possible time in the season.

ARA encourages EPA and the registrants to continue the defense of science-based pesticide regulation in the federal courts by appealing the decision and requesting a stay of the decision during the appeal. Flexibility in emergency labels and cancelation orders will be necessary to minimize chaos and economic harm in the supply chain to retailers, distributors and the farmers whom they serve.

American Soybean Association: Dicamba court order puts farmers in immediate, costly bind

The American Soybean Association—the national advocacy organization for the industry—and 26 soy state affiliates have sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking the administration for help following a dicamba ruling in a federal district court in Arizona. The court ruled EPA made a procedural error in issuing 2020 dicamba registrations for over-the-top (OTT) use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Because EPA did not offer a public notice and comment period before issuing the registrations, the court ruled the agency was in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and vacated 2020 registrations for XtendiMax, Enginia, and Tavium.

The ruling appears to affect every state in which the products are registered and thus could impact more than 50 million acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton—an area larger than the state of Nebraska.

Josh Gackle, ASA president and soybean farmer from North Dakota, said, ″We are clearly disappointed with the court’s dicamba ruling, but more pressing, soybean and other farmers are exceptionally concerned about what this means as we approach 2024 planting season. If the administration does not issue an existing stocks order so we can use the millions of dollars of product already ordered for spring planting, we are in a world of hurt. Not only is there immediate financial loss from not being able to use the product we’ve ordered, but the decision puts tremendous weight on this season’s yield capabilities. If we cannot quickly access dicamba or acquire viable alternatives, we’ll likely have lower production this year from uncontrolled weeds—and that means even greater revenue loss.″

It is unclear whether the ruling will take effect immediately. Most farmers have already placed orders for herbicide and herbicide-tolerant seed. And, there are few alternative products available to cover the capacity of a nationwide switch.

FIFRA gives EPA the authority to issue existing stocks orders for products that are cancelled, which is now a major priority for the soybean industry. ASA also asks for the administration’s support of an appeal of the ruling and help in seeking to stay the ruling from taking effect pending appeal.

In 2023, ASA, its 26 state soy affiliates, and several cotton associations submitted an amicus brief to the District Court of Arizona in this case urging the judge to avoid vacatur. Neither ASA nor the other grower groups are parties to the Arizona case, however.

National Cotton Council expresses disappointment with dicamba ruling

The National Cotton Council is extremely disappointed in a ruling by the Arizona Federal court that vacates the label for over-the-top use of dicamba products for the 2024 crop. The impacts of this ruling will be felt across the Cotton Belt as dicamba-tolerant varieties account for more than 75% of U.S. cotton acres.

The ruling comes at an especially problematic time of the year as many producers have already made their cropping decisions, secured seed, and are doing preparatory field work. The timing of this ruling also will not allow for the production of seed with alternative herbicide technology in time for 2024 planting. Without widely available alternatives, losing the foundational herbicides in the dicamba-tolerant weed control system will put millions of acres in jeopardy of reduced production. The loss of over-the-top dicamba products exacerbates an already difficult economic situation with current prices below the costs of production.

We urge EPA to immediately appeal the ruling. If allowed to stand, the court's decision is another blow that will stifle the development and adoption of new technologies that not only increase productivity but bring forth environmental benefits such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, we urge EPA to move quickly in exploring all available options to mitigate the economic damage that will result if growers do not have access to this critical crop protection product.″


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