In our efforts to best assist and represent the industry, ACI is here to listen to your feedback from the field, provide some guidance and share what we know related to pesticide use issues this application season. Below is an outline of items and information we hope you find helpful. We will continue to monitor the various items and issues and update our members accordingly.
1. The Office of Indiana State Chemist (OISC) has created a page with dicamba herbicide updates. Please click here to find a variety of useful information which is updated almost daily.
2. As of August 15, 2017 the Office of Indiana State Chemist has logged over 200 drift complaints - 113 are suspected dicamba complaints.
3. The investigations of these cases at OISC are on-going and it could be weeks and even months before any conclusions can be determined. Patience by all involved is vital, as investigations take time to determine causation. The OISC has a good regulatory process along with the industry despite the length of time investigations may take.
4. In February, OISC published a set of guidelines for farmers and applicators that are using the newly approved dicamba-based herbicide products. Click here to read the publication.
5. In April 2017, OISC published a notice of intent regarding a proposed rule to expand the list of state restricted use pesticide products to include certain herbicides containing the active ingredient dicamba. Click here to read the proposed rule.
6. On July 6, 2017, Mark Shublak attended the Indiana Pesticide Review Board public hearing to provide comments on behalf of ACI. The board was hearing comments on a proposed rule to expand the list of state restricted use pesticide products to include certain herbicides containing the active ingredient dicamba. Mark provided verbal comments about ACI's position on dicamba expressing concerns about making the product a restricted use pesticide and suggested that there is not enough evidence to support the proposed rule at this time. You can read the comments submitted by ACI and others by clicking here.
7. ACI is in regular contact with chemical product personnel, OISC staff and other stakeholders regarding these issues. We hope to give input when asked and needed in a timely manner and to be relevant for and to all of our members.
8. Many retailers have made an internal, voluntary decision to cease the sale and use of all dicamba products at this point in the growing season as they continue to work with their customers to evaluate fields. ACI recommends you contact the chemical product representative to involve them in the discussion and ask them to evaluate the field regardless of who the applicator was.
9. As a whole, the industry has nearly always successfully worked together to respect the investigation and evaluation process and assess the impact of the situation at harvest and what needs to be done at that time to be fair. In order to steward this new technology into the future, measured approaches to each situation are recommended. Only by working together will farmers, retailers and the chemical industry improve upon the situation.
10. The insurance industry will also have to be involved which needs to be taken into consideration in the months to come. Insurance companies are key partners in our industry and it would be very troubling to see them take actions to exclude this product from future coverage, since insurance is required in order to obtain a commercial applicator license. Their evaluation of the cases turned in to them also needs time to evolve (often through harvest) and again, patience is paramount here.
11. By far, the feedback from retailers and farmers is that this new technology is important but there are certainly issues that need to be addressed going forward to improve the situation, including for farmers who desire to grow organic, non GMO and other non DT soybeans. The specialty crops and homeowners also need to continue to be considered and their ability to freely grow those crops respected.
We hope that sharing what ACI has learned from this current situation, and from experience, is helpful. Our industry and the manner in which we handle the situation are being closely monitored by other industries and the public. Patience, respect for each other, fairness for all involved and learning from this experience will hopefully prevail.