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Applicators fined in ’16 dicamba drift complaints

spraying soybean field
CIVIL ACTION: Applicators who sprayed illegally in 2016 are seeing civil penalties mount in the wake of dicamba investigations.
More civil penalties to come in Missouri dicamba drift allegations.

Eight applicators who sprayed dicamba in 2016 and caused damage to nearby crops received civil penalties ranging from $1,500 to $62,250.

In October, Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said that fines for dicamba drift damage were forthcoming. Saturday, she announced those fines along with locations. The first round focused on complaints in Dunklin County in southeast Missouri.

Federal officials are still investigating six applicators that allegedly used dicamba off-label. The six applicators were named by 83 (of the 121) complainants. Once the federal partners have completed their investigations, the department will finalize enforcement action against the applicators.

In 2016, the blame for injury was on old herbicide technology sprayed off-label over dicamba-resistant cotton and soybean technology. Then, the Missouri Department of Agriculture cautioned farmers that it was a violation of federal law to use any dicamba product with Bollgard II XtendFlex or Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans, because neither was labeled for use. Still, some ignored the warnings and sprayed.

In 2016, the state ag department completed 121 complainant investigations. They went on to investigate 60 applicators.

As a result, here are the following civil penalties issued:

All civil penalties collected for violations of the law will go to the school district where the violation occurred.

“It is important for appropriate enforcement action to be issued in order to deter off-label use and protect the integrity of agriculture,” Chinn said in a news release. “We are in the final stages of our case review of 2016 investigations and continuing our field investigations of 2017 complaints, and will release information as cases close.”

There were 311 alleged dicamba drift incidents that year. However, new technology formulations like FeXapan, Engenia and XtendiMax were approved for use over dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans, making the process more cumbersome.

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