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Federal Judge Vacates Dicamba Registrations

A federal judge this week vacated the 2020 dicamba registrations by the Environmental Protection Agency. The ruling in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona leaves farmers without options to use dicamba in the upcoming growing season.

Affected products include Bayer’s XtendiMax, BASF’s Engenia and Syngenta’s Tavium. In response, the North Carolina State University Extension says, “Many will panic in response to this news and scramble to switch technology.” The court vacated registrations for over-the-top use of dicamba, ruling that the EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act’s public input requirement before its approval. Proponents called the ruling a “vital victory for farmers and the environment.”

The Center for Biological Diversity claims, “Endangered butterflies and bee populations will keep tanking if the EPA keeps twisting itself into a pretzel to approve this product just to appease the pesticide industry.” Crop protection companies are assessing the situation to find a path forward for dicamba.

Other farm groups such as the Agricultural Retailers Association and the National Cotton Council have shared statements on the dicamba ruling. You can view those below:

NCC Expresses Disappointment with Dicamba Ruling

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – 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.


ARA Statement on dicamba registration vacatur 

May be attributed to W. Daren Coppock, ARA President & CEO 

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 science based 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. 

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