Dangers of Dicamba (VIDEO) | Civil Eats

Dangers of Dicamba (VIDEO)

On the heels of California’s Proposition 37 and the national debate over genetically engineered (GE) food, pesticide companies are continuing to push to legalize new types of GE crops linked with powerful pesticides. Farmers like Indiana’s Troy Roush are objecting to such a shortsighted approach to agriculture. There are currently 13 new GE crops pending USDA approval, the most threatening of which may be Monsanto’s Dicamba Soybean. (Other crops include Dow’s 2,4-D Corn and 2,4-D Soybean, and the non-browning “Arctic Apple.”)

Why the need for new seeds? The first GE seeds were introduced in 1996 and adopted widely. Instead of having to rotate crops, farmers could spray the herbicide RoundUp to kill weeds while the GE plants survived. Gradually the weeds adapted and herbicide-resistant weeds now affect an estimated 12 million acres of farmland (about half the size of Indiana), and that number is growing rapidly.

As more weeds become resistant, farmers spray more herbicides. Since their introduction, GE seeds have led to 527 million more pounds of herbicides to be sprayed than would have been used on conventional crops. These chemicals are harmful to human health, pollute natural resources, and devastate neighboring crops. Dicamba is particularly destructive. Indiana farmer Troy Roush observes, “Whatever it settles on, it kills.”

Unfortunately the US framework for regulating GE crops like Dicamba Soy is broken. As the USDA considers legalizing GE crops, it only asks whether or not the crop poses the risk to other plants, but not farmers.

Until a comprehensive process is put in place–one that recognizes the costs of GE crops to farmers and rural communities–USDA Secretary Vilsack should stop the unchecked flood of these seeds from entering the market.

newsmatch banner 2022

Tell Secretary Vilsack to say no to Dicamba Soy. Take action

We’ll bring the news to you.

Get the weekly Civil Eats newsletter, delivered to your inbox.

Today’s food system is complex.

Invest in nonprofit journalism that tells the whole story.

Luke Knowles is the Project Director of FixFood.org. He most recently worked at the US Department of Agriculture and on energy and environmental issues for the 2008 Obama campaign. He earned his bachelor’s from Yale University and his master’s from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Read more >

Like the story?
Join the conversation.

    More from

    GMOs

    Featured

    Elena Terry, (left) and Zoe Fess smile after showcasing Seedy SassSquash, a signature family dish, during the Smithsonian’s

    This Mother-Daughter Team Is Sharing Food Traditions from the Ho-Chunk Nation

    Through their nonprofit Wild Bearies, Elena Terry and Zoe Fess are advancing intergenerational seed-saving and knowledge-keeping. A recent spotlight at the Smithsonian is helping them make strides.

    Popular

    Absent Federal Oversight of Animal Agriculture Safety, States and Others Step Up for Change

    A happy and healthy-looking worker in a clean and well-lit dairy. Photo credit: Vera Chang.

    Tyson Says Its Nurses Help Workers. Critics Charge They Stymie OSHA.

    An anonymous worker, 48, from Guatemala, has worked at the Tyson in Green Forest, Arkansas, for 20 years. She needs carpal tunnel surgery in both arms, and Tyson doctors have confirmed that she needs it. However, Tyson has told her the company will not cover the cost of the surgery. Her husband, also a Tyson worker, died of COVID in 2020. (Photo by Jacky Muniello for Civil Eats)

    Biogas Expansion May Compound Worker Risks

    An overhead view of an anaerobic digester pond next to animal barns and a cornfield. (Photo credit: Maas Energy)

    ‘I Was Coughing So Hard I Would Throw Up’

    An animal-ag worker carries two piglets in a CAFO.