EPA approves registration for dicamba weed control products
During an event at the Cromley Farm in Bulloch County on Oct. 27, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that EPA is approving new five-year registrations for two dicamba products and extending the registration of an additional dicamba product.
“We thank Administrator Wheeler for visiting our great state to discuss the agency’s regulatory efforts and provide us the news regarding dicamba,” Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long said. “As a cotton and soybean-producing state, access to this technology is invaluable for our farmers and the state’s economy. There was a great deal of uncertainty in farm country earlier this year following the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling on dicamba. Georgia farmers have long been good stewards of the land, and I’m certain that will continue to be the case as producers begin using dicamba products in ways that are permissible under the new label. We appreciate all the hard work EPA has done, and continues to do, for farmers and ranchers across the country.”
All three registrations include new control measures to ensure these products can be used effectively while protecting the environment, including non-target plants, animals, and other crops not tolerant to dicamba.
“Farmers now have the certainty they need to make plans for their 2021 growing season,” said Wheeler. “After reviewing substantial amounts of new information, conducting scientific assessments based on the best available science, and carefully considering input from stakeholders we have reached a resolution that is good for our farmers and our environment.”
EPA approved new registrations for two “over-the-top” (OTT) dicamba products—XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology and Engenia Herbicide—and extended the registration for an additional OTT dicamba product, Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology. These registrations are only for use on dicamba-tolerant (DT) cotton and soybeans and will expire in 2025, providing certainty to American agriculture for the upcoming growing season and beyond.
To manage off-site movement of dicamba, EPA’s 2020 registration features important control measures, including:
• Requiring an approved pH-buffering agent (also called a volatility reduction agent or VRA) be tank mixed with OTT dicamba products prior to all applications to control volatility;
• Requiring a downwind buffer of 240 feet and 310 feet in areas where listed species are located;
• Prohibiting OTT application of dicamba on soybeans after June 30 and cotton after July 30;
• Simplifying the label and use directions so that growers can more easily determine when and how to properly apply dicamba.
The 2020 registration labels also provide new flexibilities for growers and states. For example, there are opportunities for growers to reduce the downwind spray buffer for soybeans through use of certain approved hooded sprayers as an alternative control method. EPA also recognizes and supports the important authority FIFRA section 24 gives the states for issuing locally appropriate regulations for pesticide use. If a state wishes to expand the federal OTT uses of dicamba to better meet special local needs, the agency will work with the state to support its goals.
Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) Chairman Bart Davis, a cotton farmer from Colquitt County, noted, “This announcement is a victory for cotton farmers in Georgia and across the cotton belt. Dicamba is a major tool for farmers to address our most problematic pests. The continued availability of dicamba is also essential in our continued efforts to prove the sustainability of our industry.”
The event was hosted by Cromley Farms, the family farm of brothers Lee, a GCC director, and Charley Cromley.
“We were proud to host Administrator Wheeler and his team here on our farm. This announcement being made in Georgia shows that Georgia’s farmers have been fantastic stewards of this technology,” said Lee Cromley when asked about Administrator Wheeler coming to Bulloch County.
During the event, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and EPA Region IV Administrator Mary Walker signed a Memorandum of Understanding that establishes collaborative efforts and foster relationships between the two agencies. Both announcements were applauded by the crowd, which included American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall and National Cotton Council of America Chairman Kent Fountain, a cotton ginner and grower from Surrency.