On Friday (June 23), the Arkansas State Plant Board is again expected to vote on a dicamba spraying ban. The board’s original June 20 vote followed a recommendation by its Pesticide Committee that a ban of dicamba products be considered.
The vote was prodded by a surge of dicamba-related drift complaints to the board over the last few weeks. Some 200 complaints have been reported.
Why the need for another vote?
“The revote is needed because of a procedural error that happened in the Tuesday meeting,” says Adriane Barnes, spokesperson for Arkansas Agriculture Department. “The revote will take place at 10 a.m.”
“It was a misunderstanding about how many voting board members were there. What I mean by that is some weren’t there in person and had called in on the phone. There was thought to be an additional person on the phone that wasn’t.”
Will anything else be discussed at the next meeting?
“Tomorrow is very simply and specifically to address the need for the revote.”
Observers of the process say the staggered nature of this season’s soybean crop is complicating matters in the state. Massive rains and flooding have forced many growers to replant. As a result, this year’s planting window will stretch from March well into July.
“Think about it: if you’re growing dicamba soybeans that extended planting season scatters the use of dicamba out,” says a veteran consultant in northeast Arkansas. “If you bought into the technology and have pigweed trouble, you certainly want access to (Engenia – the only new dicamba formulation allowed to be sprayed in Arkansas after April 15). It’s also totally understandable that folks don’t want to be drifted on.
“There are some wondering if any of the votes will shift on Friday. Bottom line is this thing has split the agriculture community almost down the middle. And I don’t know if there will be a good outcome whatever the Plant Board decides.”