The EPA has issued an order intended to provide farmers with needed clarity they need following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ June 3, 2020 three vacated dicamba registrations. The cancellation order outlines limited and specific circumstances under which existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products can be used through July 31, 2020. But states are still seeking additional clarification to some specific situations.
EPA’s order will mitigate some of the devastating economic consequences of the Court’s decision for growers and particularly rural communities, the agency said, at a time they are experiencing great stress due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
EPA’s order addresses the sale, distribution, and use of existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products – XtendiMax with vapor grip technology (a Bayer product), Engenia (from BASF), and FeXapan (by Corteva).
First, the distribution or sale by any person is generally prohibited except for ensuring proper disposal or return of dicamba products to registrants. the EPA say.
And second, growers and commercial applicators may use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, the effective date of the Court decision. Such use must be consistent with the product’s previously-approved label, and may not continue after July 31, 2020.
The EPA order is intended to clarify the continued use of dicamba products this growing season. It seems clear that if farmers already have product "in the shed" (on their farm), they can apply it or have it applied by July 31. However, at this time it, is still unclear if product in stock at an agribusiness or farmer cooperative must have been previously purchased by a farmer (but not yet delivered or applied), or if product in stock at the supplier could still be purchased by a farmer. It seems to require that the products must have already been purchased and onsite - at either the agribusiness/cooperative or the farm. State pesticide bureaus - including Iowa's - are now asking EPA for additional clarification on this.
Dicamba is a valuable pest control tool that farmers nationwide planned to use during the 2020 growing season. Since the Court issued its opinion, the agency has been overwhelmed with letters and calls from farmers citing the devastation of this decision on the millions of acres of crops, millions of dollars already invested by farmers, and threat to America’s food supply, the EPA said.
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