Minnesota should ban use of the weedkiller dicamba

As a Minnesotan, I am very concerned about the weedkiller dicamba, as it threatens many Minnesota farmers and their crops. A farmer can spray dicamba directly on dicamba-ready crops, and those crops will survive. The thing is, many farmers in the Midwest do not use dicamba-ready crops. So the herbicide, when sprayed, is drifting onto neighboring fields, damaging and killing non-dicamba-ready crops.

So far, there have been 200 reports of damage reported to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture from over 50 counties — and the state is unsure how much more damage there could be. In Missouri, farmers are reporting $1.5 million in losses from sales due to dicamba drift. There have been over 300,000 acres of soybean crops damaged by the spraying of dicamba.

Dicamba is particularly bad because it travels far compared to other pesticides. With little to no control of where the pesticide goes, it can have lasting effects on our crops. Public health is also at risk. With the chemicals spreading onto neighboring farms, we have no assurance that the pesticide is not also spreading to homes, schools and playgrounds as well.

The state should ban the use of dicamba altogether. Arkansas has already decided to ban it; to protect ourselves and our farmers, we should ban it, too.

Annalise Dobbelstein is a Minnesota field organizer with U.S. PIRG.

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