Dicamba bill increases off-label herbicide application fines

Bipartisan legislation increasing the penalties for off-label use of herbicides was signed into law Friday by Governor Eric Greitens.  What is known as the dicamba bill was introduced by State Representative Don Rone following complaints of plant injury from drift of the herbicide dicamba onto sensitive crops mostly in southeast Missouri.  Dicamba was applied against label directions to cotton and soybeans bred specifically to tolerate the herbicide, but prior to the release of a new formulation of the compound that is less likely to drift.  The 124 injury complaints were investigated by the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) at a cost, according to the MDA, of $177,000.  Governor Greitens signed the bill in the Bootheel town of Portageville.

“We have guys who are out there doing the right thing every day, trying to support themselves, support their families,” said Governor Greitens, after signing the measure, “and they deserve to have a government that’s going to have their back.”

The House passed the bill with an emergency clause, meaning it takes effect immediately. It authorizes the state agriculture department to issue a $10,000 penalty per violation. Chronic violators can now be fined up to $25,000 per violation.  Fines collected as a result of the law will go to the school district in which the violation occurs.

Missourinet News Director Brian Hauswirth contributed to this article.

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