Pesticide makers primed Illinois officials ahead of dicamba damage, emails show

By the time Illinois farmers started filing formal complaints of herbicide damage to their soybeans this year with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, state officials were already receiving advice from the makers of the herbicides, according to a review of department emails. Darrell Hoemann/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
Dicamba resistant soybeans in rural McLean County on August 7. The emails – contained in more than 60 pages of documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act – show the companies often suggested how to deal with the complaints, sometimes without any solicitation from department officials. The emails covered the time period from January through September 2017. Monsanto, a St.

Pesticide applicators warned Illinois ag officials in 2016 about potential dicamba damage

The Illinois Department of Agriculture was warned a year ago about the potential crop damage that could be caused by the herbicide dicamba if the department didn’t tighten regulations on the herbicide’s use, according to department documents. Read department documents here The warning came from an industry group of pesticide applicators during a December 2016 meeting held to discuss whether the pesticide should be designated as “restricted use,” which means only certified applicators can apply the pesticide. A non-restricted use pesticide can be purchased and applied by anyone and records of application are not required. The usage of dicamba increased significantly in 2017, after a November 2016 decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to approve new formulations of the herbicide for use on a new genetically modified soybean seed made by Monsanto. Since then, after damage from dicamba spread across the Midwest and South, the U.S. EPA took steps to restrict the herbicide’s use.

Big Ag salary guide: Dow, Monsanto, ADM lead the way

Over the past three years, these companies have on average paid their executives and directors more than $100 million, according to a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting review of financial filings. The median was $94.5 million.

Damage from dicamba spurs confusion, questions

To combat the weeds, Monsanto and other companies began researching soybean resistance to other herbicides that would kill the weeds but not crops.

In wake of new Monsanto seed, Illinois sees more crop damage

The 2017 growing season was supposed to be the year of “spotless” soybean fields after Monsanto introduced a new generation of soybeans – the largest single biotechnology launch in the company’s history. The new soybeans can tolerate the use of dicamba, a traditional herbicide used on corn that spreads easily and has historically harmed soybeans. But the idea was that dicamba would make quick work of the “superweeds” wreaking havoc in fields across the Midwest. Over the past years, the weeds had developed a resistance to glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in corn and soybean production. Damage from dicamba spurs confusion, questions | Read moreMonsanto and German chemical company BASF also touted a new, less volatile version of dicamba that wouldn’t drift like traditional versions.