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Iowa Ag Secretary provides clarification: “Farmers can use dicamba”

Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)

U.S. farmers and ranchers have been searching for answers ever since an appellate court vacated the registrations of three dicamba products. An Iowa agriculture official provides clarity.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals late Wednesday vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s conditional registrations for three dicamba products, due to “substantially understated risks.” Products affected included: Engenia (BASF), FeXapan (Corteva), and Xtendimax (Bayer). Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig finds the Court’s recent decision to be problematic.

“We are in the beginning of a growing season (and) the window is open for application. To have this uncertainty thrown into the mix, it’s a hardship for our producers,” Secretary Naig said. “I had requested guidance from EPA Administrator Wheeler, and encouraged him to use every legal means possible to seek a stay and provide clarity for producers.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship  (IDALS) enforces pesticide regulations passed down by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Department, however, awaits guidance pertaining to the Court’s recent decision. Therefore, Department officials will allow use of  dicamba products, until further guidance is handed down.

“For right now, we are continuing to say that producers can use the product like they normally would. Folks need to stay tuned because that could change at any minute,” Secretary Naig said. “When we do receive guidance from EPA, we will need to implement that guidance in the state.” 

It remains unclear whether or not agricultural retailers may sell these dicamba-based herbicides. Secretary Naig advises Iowa farmers to collaborate with agronomists, Ag retailers, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach staff to assess other weed control options.