Farmers reported problems with Monsanto’s latest pesticide, Dicamba, which resulted in Tennessee becoming the fourth state to impose strong restrictions. Farmers have also set up a class action law suit for crop damage stating that crops not genetically modified to withstand this herbicide are devastated by exposure to it, yet Dicamba is prone to drift.
Farmers growing organic crops have been subject to herbicide drift, a phenomenon whereupon the herbicide is carried by the wind, to other crops than the ones they were originally sprayed on.
Monsanto and German company, BASF developed Dicamba in response to the backlash against glyphosate, the main ingredient in Round Up. The multinational companies even promised to reformulate it after farmers complained that their original version released in 2016 was damaging crops due to pesticide drift.
The “new and improved” Dicamaba was supposed to be less likely to drift into onto other farms, however, farmers report damage has never been worse. Dicamba complaints are piling up in over 21 states – Tennessee is just one of them.
Scientists linked to Monsanto also attacked farmers for speaking out against the weedkiller, however other scientists have become whistleblowers – stating that the “old” weedkiller being used in a new way is being promoted based on unfounded claims and scientifically misleading information.
Mike Owen, a weed specialist at Iowa State University says,
“It’s not comfortable [talking about Dicamba dangers]. I’m like anybody else, I don’t like [it when] people are unhappy with me. But sometimes, like John Wayne said, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do!”
Monsanto altered soybean and cotton by genetically modifiying seeds meant to withstand spraying with Dicamba. It was meant to kill weeds and allow the cotton or soy crops to survive; however, farmers who grow both GM cotton and soy, as well as non-GM cotton and soy report that Dicamba is devastating all the crops – weeds, plants, everything.
The state of Arkansas banned the sale of Dicamba for this very reason. Complaints of Dicamba-related crop damage soured to over 550 in just a few months after the pesticide was available on the market.
2 million acres have already been destroyed by Monsanto’s product.
Even the pesticide appliers – the unfortunate people who are charged with spraying our fields with Monsanto’s pesticides – have reported drift issues, but was this really a mistake, or is there something else more sinister at play?
It is now commonly known that Monsanto hid results about their first blockbuster herbicide – Round Up – being linked to higher rates of cancer. They also attempted to take down the agency that pointed out a possible link between cancer and glyphosate exposure, so would it be that unlikely to imagine that the company planned for their latest chemical creation to spread everywhere?
Monsanto certainly stands to gain more in a seed monopoly if farmers can only grow cotton and soy that is genetically modified to withstand their weed killer, and their weed killer is floating on every gentle wind to the farm next door, and even several states away.
In a NYT article, Brad Williams, a Missouri farmer said,
“I’m a fan of Monsanto. I’ve bought a lot of their products. I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that there would be some kind of evil nefarious plot to put a defective product out there intentionally.”
Yet Williams admits his soybean crops are damaged. He says that the leaves are so deformed, you can’t tell what tree they belonged to. Dicamba hurt not just his crops, but also the trees surrounding them.