One day D.C. summit to address weed resistance

The issue of herbicide-resistant weeds is serious enough that the National Academy of Sciences is organizing a one-day summit to hash out the problem.

“We’re holding a meeting in Washington, D.C., to bring together leaders who will help us first understand the nature of the problem of herbicide resistance and then figure out what possible opportunities we have to ameliorate the problem from spreading further,” said Dr. Charlie Arntzen, who chairs the steering committee for the National Summit on Strategies to Manage Herbicide-Resistant Weeds.  Among many other positions in the scientific community, Dr. Arntzen is the founding director of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute.

Most people close to agriculture are aware that glyphosate resistance is spreading from where it began in the southeastern United States, according to Dr. Arntzen.

“But I would say the general public is only slowly coming to understand the challenges that farmers and the agri-chemical industry overall are facing in the next few years,” he told Brownfield.

The program, Thursday, May 10, at George Washington University, is to be presented mostly by university specialists addressing what to do about weed resistance.

“It’s been easy to control weeds now in cotton and soybeans for quite a number of years,” said Arntzen. “Mother Nature doesn’t like that and is coming back with a vengeance.”

Farmers, said Dr. Arntzen, need to spend time in their fields looking for the occasional pigweed, or whatever it might be, and take care to not let weed seeds get established.

“The best tool of prevention is to get out and don’t let it get started.”

AUDIO: Dr. Charlie Arntzen (2 min. MP3)

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