Industry Update: Dicamba

ASA and a coalition of national grower trade associations that represents farmers, ranchers, and their families nationwide are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to reject an NGO call to invalidate EPA’s dicamba existing stocks order for three dicamba products whose registrations were immediately vacated by the court June 3.

Background

Earlier this month, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated EPA’s 2018 registrations for three dicamba products for use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans, citing EPA’s “failure to acknowledge the risk” of dicamba use and that EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) with its dicamba registrations. This announcement caused widespread confusion and uncertainty for growers in the middle of planting season. Investments and planting decisions have been made, and most planting has been completed—all based on the realistic expectation that over-the-top application of these dicamba products would be possible through the growing season.

Last week, EPA issued guidance on the vacatur, outlining the circumstances under which existing stocks can be used. This includes specific direction on the sale and use of all three vacated dicamba products–Xtendimax, Engenia and FeXapan—through July 31, 2020. In turn, two of the NGOs in the original case against EPA filed an emergency petition that seeks to invalidate EPA’s Cancellation and Existing Stocks Order for the dicamba products and hold the agency in contempt.

Grower Coalition Files Amicus Brief

The American Soybean Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cotton Council of America, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, and National Sorghum Producers this week filed an amicus brief supporting EPA’s position against the NGO petition, citing the catastrophic consequences that could result if the NGOs’ request is granted, including devastating economic damage to growers who already face depressed market prices and increased uncertainty in commodity markets due to ongoing trade tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition also pointed to the “disruptive precedent” it could set for farmers for years to come.

Bottom line

ASA urges the court to respect EPA’s expertise in managing existing stocks of these formerly registered pesticide products and deny the emergency motion pending against EPA.