Former dicamba task force member: "Monsanto is buying their way through Arkansas politics" | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Former dicamba task force member: "Monsanto is buying their way through Arkansas politics"

Posted By on Sat, Dec 16, 2017 at 4:39 PM

The Legislative Council yesterday approved a subcommittee's recommendation to stall a proposed ban on the controversial herbicide dicamba.

The decision left some farmers who favor the ban unhappy — and frustrated with a process that blocked the proposal before testimony was even heard.

According to a report from a dicamba task force created by the governor, as of September, there had been 963 complaints alleging dicamba misuse over 26 Arkansas counties. Shawn Peebles, an Augusta farmer who served on the task force, contacted the Arkansas Times to express his frustration with the legislature's actions this week:

As a former dicamba task force member, Arkansas farmer, and member of the USDA SPECIALTY CROP committee who testified at this legislative session: Why is no one questioning the fact the senator Bill Sample kicked this back before the hearing started before any testimony was heard?!?!? Hell, the man didn't even have the Plant Board's recommendation in hand yet. Just curious. Monsanto is buying their way through Arkansas politics and no one will cover it. When this product is released it will do irreparable damage to Arkansas agriculture.

Previously, a 120-day moratorium was placed last summer on use of the herbicide, which many Arkansas farmers say has caused massive damage to their crops due to drift.  The task force recommended a new spraying ban, which would have lasted from April 16 through October 31, with a plan to revisit the issue for the 2019 growing season after more data and research has been collected and reviewed. The Plant Board approved that ban in November. However, it still needed legislative approval to move forward. Instead, this week the Legislative Council declined to initiate the ban and punted it back to the Plant Board.

Farmers are divided on the question. The chemical giant BASF (which produces a version of the herbicide) and agricultural giant Monsanto (which engineers dicamba-resistant seed and sells its own version of the chemical) have actively resisted the state's movement toward a ban. Monsanto has filed a lawsuit challenging the proposed ban in Pulaski County Circuit Court and asked for an injunction. The lawsuit claims that the April 16 cutoff date is arbitrary.

The motion to send it back to the Plant Board was first made on Tuesday by Sen. Bill Sample in the Legislative Council Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee. Sample echoed Monsanto's complaint that the cutoff date was arbitrary; the Legislative Council is recommending that the Plant Board revisit the cutoff date issue, including looking at different cutoff dates based on region and temperature.

Sample left the building immediately after his motion to stall the ban was approved, prior to hearing any testimony. The subcommittee then heard an hour's worth of testimony from five farmers — but at that point, the recommendation to halt the ban and punt it back to the Plant Board had already been made. 

Sample told the Democrat-Gazette that he left before testimony began because he was ill with bronchitis.

Favorite

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

Readers also liked…

  • Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: 'Finger Lickin' Good Fried Chicken'

    What's purported to be a final-words essay from condemned prisoner Kenneth Williams was distributed today by Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist in Arkansas.  He reflects on his execution, his victims, reactions of inmates and big servings of fried chicken, which he says are given to all inmates on execution days.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • Police identify two women found fatally shot on Chicot Road

    Little Rock police have identified two women found dead of gunshot wounds in an SUV parked next to a vacant trailer in a mobile home park at 11500 Chicot Road.
    • May 16, 2017

Slideshows

  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation