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Federal court vacates dicamba registration

A federal court in Arizona has vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s registrations of dicamba-based weedkillers from 2020, halting its use.

The judge ruled that the EPA did not follow the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) notice and unlawfully approved dicamba for over-the-top use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton.  The products affected are Bayer’s Xtendimax, BASF’s Engenia, and Syngenta’s Tavium.

This is the second time a federal court has found that the EPA unlawfully approved dicamba.  An earlier case resulted in an appeals court overturning the agency’s prior approval of the pesticide.

A spokesperson for Bayer says the company disagrees with the ruling and is assessing its next step.  The company is also awaiting direction from the EPA on important actions it may take in response to the ruling.  Bayer says its top priority is making sure growers have approved products and the support needed to grow their crops safely and successfully.

BASF is reviewing the Order and assessing its legal options while awaiting direction from the U.S. EPA on actions it will take as a result of the Order. 

Center for Food Safety legal director George Kimbrell says the ruling was a vital victory for farmers and the environment.   

The National Cotton Council also expressed disappointment in the ruling. The organization says the timing will not allow for the production of seed with alternative herbicide technology in time for the 2024 planting season. Without widely available alternatives, losing the foundational herbicides in the dicamba-tolerant weed control system will put millions of acres in jeopardy of reduced production. The loss of over-the-top dicamba products exacerbates an already difficult economic situation with current prices below the costs of production.

The NCC is urging the EPA to immediately appeal the ruling. 

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