Dicamba

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

State regulators have voted not to increase restrictions surrounding the use of a controversial herbicide that has been blamed for widespread damage to crops and other plants.

Members of the Arkansas State Plant Board met Wednesday to discuss new proposed regulations on dicamba for the 2020 growing season. All but one member voted to not require farmers who use the chemical on genetically modified cotton and soybean fields to report spraying records and real-time GPS coordinates to an online database.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Members of the Arkansas State Plant Board have approved new restrictions on a weedkiller that’s been blamed for widespread crop damage.

At the board's quarterly meeting Tuesday, members voted to require growers who use dicamba on genetically modified cotton and soybeans to keep GPS records of spraying, and to file spraying information with the board's online registry.

The board had originally considered lengthening the time period when dicamba can be sprayed by six days, but opted to keep the spraying cutoff date at May 25.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Inside a squat, brick building set among roughly 800 acres of row crops, a mix of scientists, local growers and Arkansas Plant Board members prepare to get a look at an all-too-familiar problem.

They'll be touring the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's Northeast Research and Extension Center in Keiser, near the banks of the Mississippi River. Plant Board Chair Greg Hay prepares the group for what they're about to see.

Loretta Williams

Following months of consideration, the Arkansas Plant Board has voted to loosen its ban on the controversial herbicide dicamba.

In an eight-hour meeting Wednesday, the board voted to move the cutoff date for spraying the herbicide from April 15 to May 25. A group of farmers had been seeking to push the date back to as late as June 15, but at the outset of Wednesday's meeting board members had been considering May 20 as a compromise.