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Arkansas Agriculture Officials Taking Public Comments On Dicamba Regulations

David Wildy, a prominent Arkansas farmer, in a field of soybeans that were damaged by dicamba.
Dan Charles
NPR News

The Arkansas Agriculture Department has opened a 30-day public comment period regarding proposed regulations for the use of dicamba. The herbicide has been blamed in recent years for extensive crop damage after drifting on non-resistant vegetation. A public hearing has also been scheduled for next month.

The State Plant Board approved draft regulations at its December meeting. Dicamba use would be allowed between April 16 and May 20 on soybean and cotton varieties that are resistant to dicamba. There would be a one-mile buffer zone around research stations, organic crops, specialty crops and non-resistant crops.

Spokesman Brett Dawson says the department will accept comments through Feb. 5.

"The public comments will shape the regulations. Right now the verbiage is up on our website and, if someone provides something that does change the opinions of [members of] the State Plant Board, it could be used, or also, people can show up in-person and speak at the public hearing," Dawson said.

The hearing will be held Feb. 20 at 9 a.m. at Embassy Suites, 11301 Financial Centre Parkway in Little Rock.

Comments can be provided at the Arkansas Agriculture Department website, or mailed to:

Arkansas State Plant Board
Attn: Pesticide Division
P.O. Box 1069
Little Rock, AR 72203