Updated: Comment period extended.
In response to requests from commenters, the EPA has extended the comment period on the use of dicamba herbicide in dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans to May 31. The public comment period opened March 31 and was set to end April 21.
“This is an issue of high public interest and concern so the agency (EPA) feels it is important to get feedback from stakeholders before a final decision is reached,” the EPA wrote in a memorandum posted to regulations.gov.
Dicamba is in the chlorophenoxy family of chemicals and is similar to 2,4-D, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. It is used on broadleaf weeds and woody plants and can be found in more than 1,110 products sold in the United States.
Monsanto Company said EPA's decision represents another critical milestone toward farmers gaining access to new dicamba weed-management tools.
It is a violation of federal and state law to make an in-crop application of any dicamba herbicide product on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans or Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton as no dicamba product is approved for those uses.
If approved, farmers will be able to use dicamba in-crop with soybeans tolerant to dicamba and glyphosate and with cotton tolerant to dicamba, glyphosate and glufosinate.
“Stakeholder comments will really make a difference,” said Kim Magin, Monsanto’s director of industry affairs. “Supportive letters are important for regulators to understand the various perspectives from farmers and agricultural stakeholders.”
Opponents, however, are questioning the use of GMOs and say dicamba is only a temporary fix, according to an article in Truthout.
If the EPA decides to allow the use of dicamba herbicide on dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans, farmers will have an additional herbicide to use to reduce the spread of glyphosate resistant weeds. To ensure that dicamba successfully manages weed resistance problems, the proposed decision outlines a Herbicide Resistance Management Plan that includes monitoring and reporting any suspected resistance to EPA, grower education and remediation. EPA is proposing to limit the registration to 5 years, which would further provide protections if resistance to dicamba develops.
After the comment period closes, EPA will review all of the comments and reach a final decision, which the agency expects to issue in late summer or early fall 2016.
Find directions for commenting here.