Existing stocks of herbicide dicamba may be used during the upcoming crop season

Existing stocks of herbicide dicamba may be used during the upcoming crop season

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an “existing stocks order,” allowing farmers planning to use dicamba products for 2024 to receive and use them during the upcoming growing season.

EPA has ruled that farmers can accept “existing stocks” — previously registered pesticide products currently in the United States that were packaged, labeled, and released for shipment before Feb. 6.

On that date, the U.S. District Court for Arizona terminated dicamba registration in the United States. EPA’s “existing stocks order” clarified that dicamba products already in the possession of distributors, co-ops, and other parties for sale before that date can be sold and distributed within the set guidelines outlined in the order.

With millions of dollars of product on the line and few fast alternatives available before spring planting, the American Soybean Association (ASA) said in a statement that it “is exceptionally appreciative of” the EPA action.

 Josh Gackle, ASA president, and soybean farmer from North Dakota, said, “The court’s decision on dicamba instantly left tens of millions of acres of U.S. farmland in limbo — and in limbo a matter of weeks before spring planting. We appreciate the certainty EPA’s existing stock order provides to farmers from North Dakota, where I farm to Florida and everywhere in between. This ruling potentially affects more than 50 million acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton — an area larger than the state of Nebraska — so again, we are very appreciative of EPA’s decision to let us get through the 2024 growing season by using any product already in the delivery pipeline.”

 ASA is the national advocacy organization for the industry and led a letter to EPA last week signed by 26 soy state affiliates asking the administration for help following a dicamba ruling in a federal district court in Arizona. 

The court ruled EPA made a procedural error in issuing 2020 dicamba registrations for over-the-top (OTT) use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Because EPA did not offer a public notice and comment period before issuing the registrations, the court ruled the agency was in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and vacated 2020 registrations for XtendiMax, Enginia, and Tavium.

In addition to the “existing stocks order,” ASA has asked for the administration’s support of an appeal of the ruling and help to keep the ruling from taking effect pending appeal.

The Feb. 6 court ruling was a victory for plaintiffs, including the  National Family Farm Coalition, the Pesticide Action Network, the Center for Food Safety, and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The ruling by the federal court in Tucson overturned EPA’s 2020 approval of the herbicide, which included additional application restrictions that failed to prevent ongoing drift damage. Plaintiffs argued that dicamba use is causing far-reaching harm and pointed to USDA’s estimates that as many as 15 million acres of soybeans were damaged by dicamba drift.

The  National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) also supported the “existing stocks order” for the herbicide dicamba.  
 
“As co-regulatory partners with EPA committed to preserving environmental stewardship, protecting the rural economy and securing a healthy food supply chain, NASDA commends EPA on issuing an existing stocks order for dicamba that is inclusive of products that are in the possession of growers or the channels of trade. Today’s action will prevent severe detrimental impacts on our food, fuel, and fiber availability.” NASDA CEO Ted McKinney said.

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