Georgia Cotton Commission Troubled by Arizona Court’s Dicamba Decision
Friday, February 9th, 2024
On February 6th, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona vacated the registration of dicamba for over-the-top (OTT) use on dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans. In the ruling, the court found that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to meet regulatory requirements related to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). While at present, the extent of this decision remains to be fully realized, the Georgia Cotton Commission is concerned by today’s ruling. Georgia Cotton Commission Chairman Bart Davis, a cotton producer from Colquitt County, said, “the timing of this announcement is awful for the over 3,000 family cotton farmers in Georgia, as many have made or are making purchasing decisions that hinge on the availability of dicamba products as a tool for weed control and overall sustainability. Once again, producers face regulatory confusion at the start of the cropping season.” Davis later commented that dicamba products were a key part of a tool-chest of technologies and herbicide products that allow growers to effectively fight their greatest economic pests, palmer amaranth and morningglory, while cutting down on overall herbicide applications and carbon emissions and enabling climate-smart practices such as reduced tillage and cover cropping.
Since the latest dicamba technologies came on the market, Georgia cotton farmers have participated in a cooperative training effort called Using Pesticides Wisely that was developed and implemented by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. This program takes sound science and communicates the results of that science to farmers to help lower off-target movements of dicamba products and other pesticides. Over 17,000 individuals have been trained as a part of this program, which has led to Georgia having among the lowest levels of off-target pesticide drift complaints in the country.
The Georgia Cotton Commission implores the EPA to expedite appeal of this ruling and to eliminate confusion by allowing the use of existing stocks of dicamba for the 2024 growing season. This would be crucial to the overall economic viability of the cotton industry in Georgia and across the country in 2024, as high input process and comparatively low market prices combine to put pressure on farmers.
The Georgia Cotton Commission is a producer-funded organization located in Perry, Georgia. The Commission began in 1965. Georgia cotton producers pay an assessment enabling the Commission to invest in programs of research, promotion, and education on behalf of all cotton producers in Georgia. For more information about this and other topics, please call (478) 988-4235 or visit www.georgiacottoncommission.org.