State lawmakers say they'll hold a hearing to talk about damage caused from the illegal spraying of the dicamba herbicide on crops in southeastern Missouri. Republican state Rep. Don Rone requested that the House Select Committee on Agriculture hold the meeting, citing a recent report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that there've been more than 100 complaints filed with the Department of Agriculture about pesticide drift. A legislative news release says some farmers planted a soybean variety resistant to dicamba, and a new herbicide meant to be applied to that variety hasn't been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The news release says farmers have been using older illegal dicamba products, which are drifting into neighboring fields and damaging crops. Committee chairman Rep. Bill Reiboldt said the EPA should testify. Reiboldt said in the news release that "The situation is, the way I understand it, they released the seed but did not release the chemical, and so some of the farmers used the old chemical and that's what created the problem." Rone said he plans to file legislation that would impose tougher penalties for applying older dicamba products and other illegal products. "I'm going to make the penalties harsher. I'm going to add some things into that bill that are not presently there to safeguard the gardener, the person in the town, the peach tree man, the non-typical row crop," said Rone. "That will be my first order of business when we go back in January is to get that bill passed before the new season, so we'll have to have it before April."