Dicamba herbicide causes problems for farmers in Kentucky
Local farmer, Jacob Goodman, says thousands of acres of crops have been damaged by an herbicide he didn’t use.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it received hundreds of complaints from several different states about dicamba, a weed-killing chemical, suspected of ruining soybeans.
"We have sprayed products side-by-side one another for years with minimal issue, occasionally you’ll see some drift," says Goodman. "But now, we’re seeing products that are being sprayed side-by-side to one another and entire fields are being damaged by it."
Dicamba isn’t new but Goodman says some farmers are using it in a new way this year: spraying it over soybeans that are genetically modified to withstand the chemical. But not every farmer grows the same beans, Goodman included. He says the chemical drifted onto his soybeans and now 2,300 acres are damaged; a potential loss of nearly $400,000.
"It is not only not fair for us that are seeing the financial burden but it is not fair for our neighbors who have applied this product, and have done it to the rules that they were told, to get thrown under the bus," says Goodman.
This isn’t human error, says Goodman, it’s a faulty product that was put on the market too soon.
"We’re dealing with a chemical that’s freely floating and is not just affecting crops, it’s also affecting our biggest plants that we have around, our trees," says Goodman.
Goodman says several trees near fields in Hickman, Kentucky show signs of dicamba damage, the leaves similar to what his soybeans look like.
"There’s just not enough research out there to know what we’re dealing with," says Goodman.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture says it received 10 complaints about damages from suspected dicamba drift. Goodman says many local farmers are not reporting their damages because they don’t want their neighbors to face fines.
Goodman says it’s too early to tell how this is going to impact prices at the grocery store.
UPDATE: On Monday, a spokesperson from Monsanto, a company that uses dicamba in some products, sent us a copy of a letter sent to their customers. You can read it by clicking here.