Plant Board Update by Brad Koen 11-7-2019

The Arkansas State Plant Board has had several meetings since our last newsletter update. As you can imagine, the majority of the meeting time has been focused on the use of dicamba in the state of Arkansas. After much discussion and debate, the board voted 14-1 to keep the May 26 cutoff date for dicamba in affect for 2020. They also voted to keep a 1-mile buffer around University and USDA research stations and certified organic crops. The rule proposal was then sent to the Governor’s office for approval. The Governor approved the rule proposal, and we are currently in the 30-day public comment period. There will be a public hearing on December 11 at the Embassy Suites in West Little Rock for the plant board to hear any comments from the public. The board will then vote whether or not to send the proposed rule to the state legislative committee for final approval.
A major concern has been enforcement and fining of those who are using dicamba after the cutoff date. The Arkansas State Plant Board issued a first fine for an egregious violation in October. A grower who applied dicamba past the cut-off date on two separate occasions was fined a total of $105,000. There are other hearings expected in the upcoming months. The intent of the larger fines is to hopefully deter the illegal applications.