Over the past year, over 1,400 official complaints have been collected regarding dicamba, with an estimated 2.5 million acres of farmland affected.
What is dicamba?
Dicamba is a synthetic agrochemical herbicide that has been used for decades in conventional agriculture. Typically, it was used to kill weeds before planting, but was recently approved for use on growing crops and plants. Some major agrochemical companies including Monsanto and Dupont have also genetically modified plants to produce dicamba-resistant soybean and cotton seeds, allowing farmers to use this chemical more than ever before. However, this has created widespread problems.
As farmers have used dicamba and grown with dicamba-resistant seeds, more of the chemical has been sprayed. Dicamba is a highly volatile chemical, meaning it’s easily airborne and susceptible to drift, which consequently comes in contact with non-dicamba-resistant crops, crippling them and stunting their growth. So far there have been reports of over 2.5 million acres affected. Dicamba’s chemical effects are also an obvious health concern for consumer of not just the GMO crops, but also the food produced in the affected areas.
In recent months, states such as Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri (Monsanto’s home state) have been restricting dicamba use in order to preserve their crops that are being devastated by this chemical. Some farmers have even filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of these chemicals. Additionally, due to increased complaints, the Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing its current policy on dicamba.
Instead of putting farmers’ livelihoods at risk, it is imperative that natural and sustainable methods are put into practice. When using products such as neem, there are no negative side effects on the crops or surrounding systems, and not only are the crops effectively protected, but the environment and surrounding ecosystem benefits from neem’s properties.