“That’s not being a good neighbor.”


This week, Lindsey talks with NPR’s Food and Agriculture Correspondent, Dan Charles, about the controversy surrounding the herbicide Dicamba, and the drift damage it has caused to other crops and wildlife across the country.

A few years ago, Monsanto engineered Dicamba-resistant soybeans because many weeds had developed tolerance to their popular product, Roundup. Many farmers were thrilled, and this year, soybeans were planted on approximately 89.6 million acres in the U.S. – 40% of these are Dicamba-tolerant. Although dicamba is highly effective at weed control, it can volatilize into the air, traveling for miles, and damaging non-resistant crops, trees, and other plants nearby. EPA will have the final say on whether growers can use Dicamba on their crops in the next few weeks.

More by Dan Charles on the Dicamba debate:

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/09/27/651262491/a-drifting-weedkiller-puts-prized-trees-at-risk
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/10/09/654847573/despite-a-ban-arkansas-farmers-are-still-spraying-controversial-weedkiller
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/02/14/584647903/these-citizen-regulators-in-arkansas-defied-monsanto-now-theyre-under-attack
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/10/26/559733837/monsanto-and-the-weed-scientists-not-a-love-story

Visit us on instagram @youngfarmerspodcast and let us know what you think about Dicamba and how you think the EPA should rule.

Recorded at Radio Kingston and edited by Hannah Beal.
Thanks to our podcast intern Julie Davis.

 

Episode Transcript

Lindsey:                 This is the Young Farmers Podcast. I’m Lindsey Lusher Shute. A few years ago, Monsanto added resistance to the herbicide Dicamba, to its soybeans. They developed these seeds because weeds had become resistant to their popular product Roundup. Many farmers were thrilled. This year, soybeans were planted on some 89.6 million acres of US farmland, and the Monsanto Company estimated that 40 percent of these would be Dicamba-tolerant, but although Dicamba is highly effective at weed control, the chemical can evaporate. It can go for miles, finding its way to nearby farms, causing damage to neighboring crops, and pitting farmers against one another. This herbicide caused so much controversy that this year in Arkansas, it was banned for the entirety of the growing season. Ultimately, the EPA has the final say on whether growers will be allowed to use Dicamba and we’re expecting their decision in the next few weeks. Today I’m speaking with Dan Charles, food and agriculture correspondent at NPR. We speak about the EPA’s decision on Dicamba and what the rest of the country can learn from what happened in Arkansas.

Farmer:                  I’m Nuri Icgoren, farmer of Urban Sprout Farms in Atlanta. I’m a member of the National Young Farmer’s Coalition, because I like to have my voice heard and I like the young farmers that are in my network and this is a true movement to have their voice heard in the farm bill. In addition to being part of a brighter future for agriculture in the United states, you also get discounts like 10% high mowing organic seeds. To join, go to youngfarmers.org.

Lindsey:                 Today we’re going to talk about Dicamba and to begin with, what is Dicamba?

Dan:                         Uh, it’s a herbicide. It’s been around for a long time. It’s generally classed as a broadleaf herbicide. It was used widely in corn because corn tends not to die when exposed to Dicamba, being a grass as opposed to a broadleaf herbicide. It was also used for what farmers called burn down, basically sort of getting rid of vegetation before planting. And it always had this issue where it was drift prone, but it was not typically used a lot in the heat of summer, which is part of the problem, because now there are these new genetically modified soybeans and cotton varieties that have been altered to be tolerant to Dicamba. So now farmers are using Dicamba, as they say “over the top,” and tends to be later in the year.

Lindsey:                 “Over the top ” meaning that the application is different?

Dan:                         Yeah. Basically you’re spraying the Dicamba after the crops are up. And so it’s selective because your soy beans and your cotton don’t die because they have this genetic modification, but the weeds, particularly the broadleaf weeds, they will die.

Lindsey:                 And we’ve seen an increase in the use of Dicamba, and that is primarily due to the introduction of new seed varieties. Can you just speak to how the use of this product has changed over the last few years?

Dan:                         You know, soybeans in particular, it’s a huge acreage. I forget what they were expecting this past year. Maybe half of all soybeans would be these new Dicamba tolerant varieties. That’s a lot of acres at least potentially being sprayed with Dicamba. And in the places where I’ve visited (Arkansas, west Tennessee, well, Arkansas is a special case this year because people weren’t supposed to spray Dicamba), but in western Tennessee and the Mississippi Delta, from what I’m told, most of the soybeans are Dicamba-tolerant varieties and most of those acres are being sprayed with Dicamba. So that’s a big jump.

Lindsey:                 Now that it’s being used on farms across the country, what are some of the problems and particularly to neighboring crops?

Dan:                         Alright, so basically everybody knew the Dicamba had this kind of problem– that it tended not just to blow in the wind, but after you sprayed it, it would what they say volatilize. Basically it would evaporate. It would turn into a vapor after you’ve sprayed it, maybe a day later, maybe even a couple of days later. And then you don’t know which way the wind’s blowing and it can blow into neighboring fields and damage to the crops there. So people knew that Dicamba had this problem. Before Dicamba was allowed to be sprayed on these new Dicamba-tolerant crops, the EPA said “you have to come up with a version of Dicamba that is not gonna volatilize.” So, various companies worked on this, and they came up with these formulations and they did these tests and they said “this formulation of Dicamba does not have this problem anymore. It’s going to stay where we spray it.” So, Monsanto has a version of this; BASF has a version of this, I believe Dupont as well. So last year, for the first time, you were allowed to use these new Dicamba formulations on the new Dicamba-tolerant crops. Basically, it didn’t work very well. There was damage to neighboring crops. Three million acres were reported as having been damaged. And by damage we don’t mean killed necessarily, but there’s a very distinctive look to the crops that have been exposed to Dicamba. The soybean leaves sort of turn into these little cup shapes. Some, if it’s heavier exposure, they kind of stopped growing for a while. And this happened on a really large scale, last year. Pretty remarkable, really.

Dan:                         So Monsanto was the main company involved in this, because they are the ones who are selling the seed, the Dicamba- tolerant seed, and they’ve been very aggressive in defending both the seed and their new formulation of Dicamba. And they say, “no, no, no, it wasn’t because of volatility. It wasn’t because we couldn’t keep the thing from evaporating. It was because maybe the farmers didn’t spray it quite right. Maybe they weren’t using the right nozzles.” And so they did all this training, and it’s true that reported damage is less this year, but it’s still happening on a pretty major scale. And in some places, one of the reasons why there are fewer reports of damage, is simply that so many farmers are planting Dicamba-tolerant seed. They’re not seeing the damage because their soybeans aren’t injured by Dicamba.

Lindsey:                 And the EPA approved these new formulations. But even prior to that, Monsanto was selling seeds to farmers that were Dicamba-resistant. So this is sort of a second season or third season of this.

Dan:                         Yeah, we’ve had basically three years of experience now and each year, what happened was different, but in each year it was kind of scandalous, right? So the first year was 2016, and the Dicamba-tolerant seeds were on the market, and technically you weren’t allowed to spray Dicamba on them.

Lindsey:                 According to the EPA?

Dan:                         According to the EPA.

Lindsey:                 And is that just because Dicamba had not been approved for that type of use?

Dan:                         Correct. Okay. Correct. So basically, everything goes by the label, right. You know, the label is the law, and there was no Dicamba herbicide that was labeled for use on Dicamba-tolerant crops in 2016. But farmers, especially in the Mississippi Delta, were dealing with some really, really difficult weed issues. They’d been relying on Roundup (or Glyphosate) to control their weeds and it was not working on some really bad weeds, especially one called Pigweed, or Palmer Amaranth. It’s like the death enemy of cotton and soybean farming in the Mississippi Delta and across larger parts of the Mid-South. And so, the argument is, some people really blamed Monsanto for this. They say, “you know, if you sell the seed, it’s like an invitation to spray this herbicide, and even if it’s against the law, you’re basically telling people they should.”

Lindsey:                 Because the herbicide is available. It’s available.

Dan:                         These older versions of Dicamba are available. They’re not supposed to be sprayed but some farmers did. Yes. So we saw damage first in 2016 and there was the famous case where two farmers actually got over a big fight over this and one of them ended up shot and killed.

Lindsey:                 Because there was crop damage to the other farmer’s plant. Right?

Dan:                         Yeah. And you know, farmers get kind of angry when they plant their crop and they see it damaged because somebody is basically breaking the law. So that was 2016. And then 2017, these new formulations of Dicamba were available and they were supposed to solve the problem and they clearly did not. That was 2017.

Lindsey:                 And 2017, that’s when the EPA approval came through.

Dan:                         Yeah. So they were spraying it legally in 2017, but it was drifting. And then this year we had sort of a new situation where there was much more seed available, so way more Dicamba- tolerant crops are in the fields. There had been all this training, and there was a special situation in Arkansas where the damage had been worse and where the murder happened, where state regulators, after much, much controversy, they sort of pushed through this regulation that basically said “no spraying of Dicamba after April 15,” which basically means “you’re not going to spray it on your crop. You’re not going to take advantage of the Dicamba tolerance in the crop. And what actually happened was that some number of farmers, nobody knows the exact number, but I’m guessing dozens of farmers in Arkansas, just as in 2016, ignored the law and sprayed Dicamaba on their crops and there was damaged to neighboring crops. About 100 complaints during the year. Other states had cutoff dates that were a little later; that may have helped. But still, a lot of states are reporting thousands of acres of crops damaged by drifting Dicamba.

Lindsey:                 When you’re talking about drift, that’s when the application is being made. But then there is also evidence to suggest that it can just evaporate from the soil.

Dan:                         You know, you can control what they call physical drift. What you can’t control is the volatilization, and that is the issue with Dicamba.

Lindsey:                 The types of crops that are being damaged or basically any other crop other than Dicamba- resistant cotton and soybeans. But in your most recent reporting from Tennessee, you talk about impacts on some historic trees, as well as damage to forests. Can you speak more broadly to where communities are seeing this heavy use of Dicamba cause damage?

Dan:                         Yeah. So let me sort of explain the background to this a little bit. I mean, among farmers, say in eastern Arkansas, in western Tennessee, the people who want to spray Dicamba, one thing that you’ll hear, not super explicitly stated, but it’s there, you do hear it is: “Well this problem with drifting Dicamba, it would just go away. We would not have a problem if all the farmers just planted these new Dicamba-tolerant crops. Then we could all spray Dicamba and we could control our weeds and nothing would get hurt, because all of these crops are immune to Dicamba.” The problem with that is there are things in the landscape that are not Dicamba-tolerant. Different species are more or less sensitive to this. You can drive down a road in Arkansas or western Tennessee and you can see some trees are affected and others aren’t. One of the trees that seems to be very sensitive to Dicamba are Sycamore mTrees. But one that got a lot of attention that I focused on in the story was— so there is this lake. I had either had never heard of this lake or had forgotten about it. Real Foot Lake. Do you know Real Foot Lake?

Lindsey:                 I’ve not been there. I’ve seen the pictures and the story in which it looks beautiful.

Dan:                         So, this is this kind of extraordinary lake that was formed by an earthquake 200 years ago. I mean, people wrote about this earthquake at the time and wrote about the water rushing in, because the earth shook and this section of land subsided and basically the Mississippi river flowed in, covered I think something like 15,000 acres of land. And much of the land that it covered was a Cypress forest. And Cypress live naturally in wetlands. But what happened to a lot of these trees is basically that their roots were covered with water. And so they can live in water. They’re not going to reproduce sitting in water like that. But they survive, and Cypress trees turn out to be pretty sensitive to Dicamba. And so last year, some people around the lake noticed that the needles and the Cypress trees were turning brown in the middle of summer, which seemed weird. And so they did some investigation and found traces of Dicamba, and it seems like, this damage was caused by Dicamba vapor drifting in from nearby soybean fields. And it happened again this year. So, you know, how much damage will this do to the trees? Will it kill them? Nobody really knows, but it can’t be good for them. Right. And so at least this one guy who runs a resort on the banks of the lake, he is really up in arms about this. He’s kind of distraught over the fate of the Cypress trees.

Lindsey:                 So we have communities that are being impacted. I think some of your coverage talked about some testing that went on in Arkansas, testing of trees and communities that also showed similar results of Dicamba drift.

Dan:                         Basically the Plant Board hired a weed scientist, so he spent I think a couple of weeks in total doing a kind of informal survey across the Eastern part of the state, kind of driving from town to town and just noting damage that he saw. Basically he said, he saw damage in every town that he visited across the eastern part of the state, which is the major soybean growing part of the state.

Lindsey:                 And what about the vegetable growers and fruit tree growers and vineyards and anyone else growing anything that that’s not these resistant crops. What types of damage are showing up?

Dan:                         Well, there is damage. I haven’t done any kind of systematic survey, but certainly I’ve heard of peach orchards that have sustained a lot of damage. I’ve heard of vineyards, pumpkin plots. But it’s interesting–I haven’t looked into this in great detail and really sort of pushed, but I have put in some calls and I have to say that some of these, I’ve heard second hand of damage from some of these places, but when I have called, they have typically not called me back. It’s kinda like most of them, at least the ones that I tried to get in touch with, have not wanted to make a big public stink about it.

Lindsey:                 Interesting. And do you think that that’s because of neighborly relations? I guess maybe you don’t have enough feedback to tell.

Dan:                         I don’t know.

Lindsey:                 But do you have a hunch?

Dan:                         My hunch, my hunch is that there’s no benefit for them to exacerbating the conflict that already exists.

Lindsey:                 And is there any human danger?

Dan:                         I don’t have any good evidence of that

Lindsey:                 So, there are two opportunities to regulate Dicamba. One is at the state level and one is at the federal level through the EPA. I’d love to hear about the Arkansas Plant Board, but first I wondered if we could talk about the EPA, because that decision, whether Dicamba will be permitted for use in the 2019 season, that’s going to come any day now, right? That is due before the end of the year?

Dan:                         Yeah, it’s due before the end of the year. They keep saying they want to make a decision quickly so that farmers know what to do or what they can do for the coming year. And the rumor was it was gonna come down in August. That didn’t happen, and then it was going to happen in September and that didn’t happen. So who knows? But the deal is it was registered, as that’s the technical term for approved by the EPA, for two years, which is kind of unusual. But they knew that there were these concerns about Dicamba, and so they basically gave it this two year, almost probationary period. So they said “okay, you can use it for two years and we’ll see how it goes.”

Lindsey:                 So 2017, 2018, it was registered.

Dan:                         Yeah. And that’s up now. There is some speculation that what they will do is basically leave it up to the states and say, “you states, you all have different growing seasons. You all have different climatic conditions.” The extent of damage from Dicamba has varied dramatically from state to state so that maybe they’ll say, “we’re going to let this stay on the market, but it’s up to the states to come up with more detailed rules about when it can be sprayed.” That’s a possibility, which would sort of dump it back in the laps of state regulatory agencies that are not all that well-equipped in some cases to manage and enforce the regulation.

Lindsey:                 Normally, if EPA took this off the registered chemical or registered list of herbicides for this use, would EPA enforce that regulation?

Dan:                         Yeah, basically.

Lindsey:                 So they would take it off the shelves, in other words, which is likely the best way to handle it.

Dan:                         We would be back to the situation in 2016, where there would be a lot of Dicamba- tolerant seed on the market, but farmers would not be legally allowed to spread the chemical.

Lindsey:                 So the seed, they’re not going to regulate that even though it sort of requires the use of Dicamba. It’s just that the herbicide is what is regulated.

Dan:                         Yeah. USDA released this trait, basically what they call deregulated it. So that’s a separate agency that made their decision earlier and said “there’s no problem with this seed. You can go ahead and sell the seed.” And then that created, in a way, the situation we’re in right now where you have seed on the market that invites the use of a chemical. But EPA is responsible for regulating the use of the chemical

Lindsey:                 That’s so interesting. That hadn’t really occurred to me before that USDA is approving this seed. But there’s a separate process of looking at whether the chemical itself is safe. But does the USDA make some consideration of that as well? Because of course, the crop is not complete without, without both of these things.

Dan:                         What do you mean the crop is not complete?

Lindsey:                 Well, why would you buy that seed? Why would you spend the extra money on the seed if you couldn’t use Dicamba to make it perform as expected?

Dan:                         Yeah, it’s a reasonable argument. I mean, you will have farmers who say that they’re buying this Dicamba-tolerant seed, even if they’re not going to spray Dicamba, because they think that Monsanto has made the biggest effort to breed the highest yielding varieties that also include this trait. So they’re going to buy the seed no matter what, even if they can’t spray the Dicamba, which actually kind of brings up the other issue and that is just dominance in the market. I mean, Monsanto made a big bet on this particular technology, and in their marketing they say, “this is the latest and greatest seed. It’s also Dicamba-tolerant, but it’s the latest and greatest also just in terms of its yield characteristics and whatnot. There was a crop consultant in Tennessee who said, “We decide what seed we’re going to plant, but we don’t have total freedom in this. We buy what’s on the market. You go into the Walmart and you have this brand and you have that brand. You’re going to buy one of them. So there is a competitor technology to Dicamba. But have you heard of Liberty Link?

Lindsey:                 No.

Dan:                         Okay. This is the thing. Certainly in the Mid-South and across much of the soybean belt, there are two competing technologies that work in kind of the same way in the sense that you have a genetically-engineered-crop which is engineered to be tolerant to a particular herbicide. And you have dicamba and Dicamba-tolerant crops, and you have Liberty, the herbicide, and Liberty-tolerant crops. Liberty is the trade name for glufosinate. Basically, Liberty or glufosinate, has been kind of been the poor stepchild of Roundup and now Dicamba for the last 20 years. It’s always been owned by some other company other than Monsanto and been promoted by some other company, but it’s been sort of traded from company to company. Basically, Roundup-resistant crops and Liberty-resistant crops were invented pretty much at the same time. Liberty was kind of like the European company version. It’s gone through a whole bunch of iterations. So this is the big debate in a place like Arkansas or Tennessee– is “Should i plant Liberty crops, soybeans, or should i plant Dicamba beans?” A lot of farmers don’t like Liberty, because they say it’s not as easy to use, there are more restrictive times when you can spray it and so forth. But that’s kind of, for places where you have Roundup-resistant Pigweed, those are basically the two alternatives that farmers have.

Lindsey:                 And Liberty is effective against Pigweed?

Dan:                         If the fields aren’t wet and you get into the fields at the right time, yeah, it’s effective.

Lindsey:                 You’ve learned a lot about planting soybeans in this report, I gather.

Dan:                         I grew up on a farm.

Lindsey:                 Oh you did? Was it a crop farm?

Dan:                         I grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania, but I didn’t do much spraying, but I’ve been around farms all my life.

Lindsey:                 Right. So in the Liberty-Dicamba battle– it seems like Dicamba is sort of winning out at this stage. It seems like they’re more dominant in the market.

Dan:                         Yeah, I think that’s fair to say.

Lindsey:                 Is Liberty a better alternative? Is it safer? Does it have any of these drift issues?

Dan:                         It’s way safer in terms of drift, that’s for sure. Yeah.

Lindsey:                 And so the Arkansas Plant Board–thinking about Arkansas’s…this is maybe an example of things to come if the power of regulating this is put on the states. What can we learn from the Arkansas example and what led those farmers to make this decision to regulate this herbicide?

Dan:                         So the Arkansas State Plant Board is sort of an interesting group. It’s a bunch of private citizens. They pretty much do this on a volunteer basis. Some of them represent their particular industries. Like the seed producers or the pesticide companies or the rice farmers or the soybean farmers, you know, all these different people, all these different groups kind of have a seat on the board. They have a history of being pretty active in clamping down on that they saw as sort of a danger to the industry. In 2017, they were already concerned enough about Dicamba-tolerant crops that they were kind of annoyed at the attitude of Monsanto, because Monsanto had not allowed researchers at the University of Arkansas to test Monsanto’s version of the new Dicamba formulation. And so the Plant Board actually said, “We’re not going to allow Monsanto’s Dicamba to be sprayed in Arkansas, but BASF, because our researchers did test that and it seemed like it was better than the previous Dicamba formulations. We’re gonna allow our farmers to spray that be BASF formulation.” So there was already a little bit of sort of conflict built in. But then in 2017, in sort of this disaster year, you know, when there were close to a thousand complaints of Dicamba damage in Arkansas, researchers at the University of Arkansas sort of did finally get their hands on Dicamba and they did these tests and they said “This stuff volatilizes. It evaporates and spreads and damages soybeans.” So, there was a huge battle, but the Plant Board basically said no in-season use of Dicamba next year, meaning 2018.

Lindsey:                 So the farmers were told, “yes, you can spray this particular formulation of Dicamba.” And then they received all these complaints. And then what happened next?

Dan:                         Well, the Plant Board said, “we cannot allow this to happen. We got to stop this.” And there were lawsuits. Monsanto sued the Plant Board. Groups of farmers sued the Plant Board. Groups of farmers went to court and said, “this regulation is illegal.” Anyway, it was a huge mess, but it all sort of got resolved by the early part of the planting season. And so, by law, farmers were not supposed to be spraying Dicamba this year. But, some of them did, and there were close to 100 complaints of Dicamba damage this year. You can see damage in the field, but you don’t know where the Dicamba vapor was coming from. And so they got more aggressive and they went out and actually started–if they drove, if the investigators drove by a field and saw curled-up Pigweed plants that looked like they’d been sprayed with Dicamba, they’d stop and pick up the Pigweeds and take them into the lab for testing. On other occasions, they actually went onto people’s farms and said, “we want to sample what’s in your spray. We want to see what’s in there.”

Lindsey:                 Are they investigators from the Department of Environmental Conservation?

Dan:                         No, no, these are from The Plant Board.

Lindsey:                 But not the citizens. They’re state employee investigators?

Dan:                         No, no, no. So the members, the members of the board are private citizens, but then they have this paid staff of investigators and whatnot. Anyway, so I’ve seen some of the investigative reports in some two dozen cases. These tests came back positive for Dicamba. So I tried to reach some of these people to ask them, “so why’d you spray Dicamba?” And I only succeeded in actually reaching two, but I also spoke to a couple other people who are sort of close to those farmers and sympathize with them. And I asked them, “why are you still spraying Dicamba? Is it just a thumb your nose at the Plant Board, what is it?” And they basically portrayed it as business decision. One person said, “we’ve been backed into a corner,” and if you’re backed into a corner, you’re going to just do what you need to do to survive. Their feeling was, to save their crop, they needed to spray Dicamba. They were just going to do it. I think there was also a sense in which they really didn’t think they’d get caught, because they really don’t believe that they’re going to cause anybody else any damage. And also, they figured, “okay, so I get caught, so I have to pay a fine.” I mean the Plant Board has upped the fine. It’s now like a minimum of a thousand dollars per violation, and in the cases of egregious use, which there’s some argument about what that means, it could be $25,000 per violation. Some of these farmers were saying, “realistically I still think it’s cheaper to pay the fine then to control the weeds any other way and not control the weeds with some of the less effective measures.”

Lindsey:                 But why don’t they just use Liberty, if that’s available?

Dan:                         Well, that’s a good question.

Lindsey:                 Do they have the wrong equipment?

Dan:                         No, the equipment would work just fine. I think they just don’t want to. But they also say “we just don’t think that Liberty beans are going to yield as much.” Okay, so this is just me saying this, but it still seems to me like a lot of the farmers, they don’t want to accept that some regulatory body in the state can prohibit them from using some tool that they think is great. And the people on the other side, the farmers who are in favor of the ban, they say, “any chemical you spray that you know has some good probability is going to sort of drift into your neighbors field, that’s not being a good neighbor and you shouldn’t do that. ”

Lindsey:                 And the individuals who are serving on the Plant Board, they’ve been under a lot of pressure and there were lawsuits. The Plant Board was sued but also the individuals sitting on the Plant Board were sued. I guess some of those cases have been dismissed, but what is the status there?

Dan:                         So I don’t think there’s any more lawsuits against the Plant Board or members of the Plant Board that are still outstanding. But there are lawsuits against Monsanto that are still pending in the courts.

Lindsey:                 And the national farm groups ( Farm Bureau, National Farmers Union), I mean I’ve had some conversations with members and this is certainly thorny, but do you know if any of them have weighed in with the EPA decision?

Dan:                         You know, I don’t.

Lindsey:                 I’m just wondering though, the Arkansas Plant Board–is that a fairly unique structure in a state? Have you looked in–just in terms of the preparation of any given state who had to address this– is there a sense that the states are prepared for taking on this responsibility?

Dan:                         Well, the Arkansas State Plant Board is pretty unique. In most in most states, it’s the Department of Agriculture which would be responsible for regulating pesticides. I know, the last year when there were so many complaints, I know that the ability of state departments of agriculture to even go out and investigate, they were kind of overwhelmed. They just didn’t have the resources or the people. This is again just my subjective impression, but I have the impression that state departments of agriculture are not really very well-prepared for something of this magnitude. You know, when you have strong industry groups and also farmers lined up against each other, sometimes sort of angry at each other, this is a real can of worms. Right off hand, I can’t think of anything else that has put departments of agriculture in a position like this.

Lindsey:                 Yes. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.

Dan:                         Yeah. It’ll be interesting to follow.

Lindsey:                 A huge thank you to Dan Charles for being on the show. More of his reporting can be found at NPR.org. We are so grateful to everyone who is following our new podcast Instagram. If you aren’t following yet, you can get in on the action at Young Farmers Podcast. Please let us know if you’ve seen Dicamba drift in your state or on your farm and we’ll share the photo. We’ll also post the upcoming EPA decision there. We’re really hoping that this Instagram can be a place for discussion, so please tell us there what you think the EPA should do. if you haven’t already, we would be so grateful if you would leave us a review on Itunes. It really does matter. It really does help more people find out about the issues that we’re talking about on this show. This episode was recorded at Radio Kingston, and it was edited by Hannah Beal. We’ll talk to you next week.

 

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