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“Dicamba Drift” Crop Damage and Dicamba Ban Claims

Dicamba is a powerful herbicide used to destroy weeds that hinder the growth of crops such as soybeans and cotton. Rampant use of dicamba has caused significant damage to other crops when it “drifts” to neighboring farmlands through wind and vapor. The damage to non-resistant crops on adjacent farmlands has been staggering – 3.6 million acres of crops have been ravaged by dicamba drift. In June 2020, a federal court rescinded approval of three products that contain dicamba: Engenia (manufactured by BASF), FeXapan (manufactured by Corteva), and XtendiMax (manufactured by Bayer). While dicamba has been declared illegal for use, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not banned the product. Instead, it has announced new application restrictions and buffer zones in response to the court order. Effectively, this means that dicamba may continue to be used by farmers despite its toxic and destructive properties.

What is “Dicamba Drift”?

When applied “over the top” of soybean and cotton crops, dicamba drifts from the intended crops and causes damage to non-resistant crops in adjacent areas. In Illinois, the leading state for soybean production, farmers made 590 complaints related to dicamba drift in 2019. By comparison, in 2017, the state registered only 246 dicamba-related complaints. The damage caused by dicamba drift to fields with no resistance to the herbicide have grown year to year, resulting in significant financial losses for thousands of farmers. When the EPA approved dicamba use despite its tendency to drift-off fields, it also implemented mitigation measures to limit this occurrence. These measures were largely unsuccessful and dicamba continued to kill trees and non-target crops.

Court Decision Declares Dicamba Use Unlawful

In June 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that dicamba was improperly approved by the EPA for use on genetically engineered soy and cotton. The decision rendered the sale and use of the pesticide illegal and vacated federal registration for three dicamba herbicide products. The court rejected the EPA’s 2018 approval of dicamba on the grounds that the EPA minimized the risks of exposure to dicamba and also did not acknowledge other risks posed by the insecticide. Following the decision, the EPA announced new five-year registrations for dicamba products with additional application restrictions and set new limits related to buffer zones and endangered species. Despite the EPA’s renewal of registrations, the court order banning the use of dicamba remains in effect. A farmer who has experienced economic harm due to dicamba drift may be entitled to compensation for his/her losses.

Dicamba Ban Causes Economic Losses for Farmers

Many farmers have relied on dicamba to control weed growth and increase crop yield. Millions of acres of farmland have been planted with crops that are specifically dicamba-resistant. Because the court has declared dicamba illegal, farmers may no longer have access to dicamba and will be forced to destroy their crops. The ban on dicamba may result in significant economic losses for farmers who rely on dicamba, the industry standard for weed control for certain crops. Farmers harmed by the dicamba ban may be eligible to recover damages for their injuries.

If you have suffered losses as a result of dicamba drift or the ban on dicamba, we would like to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Please call us at (800) 315-3806 or submit an email schedule a free and confidential consultation.


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