This article was originally posted at 3:54 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Feb. 14. It was last updated with additional information at 5:04 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Feb. 14.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (DTN) -- After more than a week of uncertainty, farmers on Wednesday learned they will be allowed to use over-the-top (OTT) dicamba formulations on soybeans and cotton in 2024. EPA issued an existing stocks order that allows for the use of the herbicide already distributed from the product registrants following application cutoff dates on the products' previously approved labels.
In the EPA order, the three product registrants -- BASF, Bayer and Syngenta -- are prohibited from selling or distributing their OTT dicamba products (Engenia, XtendiMax and Tavium, respectively), effective Feb. 6, 2024, the date when the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in Tucson vacated products' 2020 EPA registrations.
People other than the registrants, such as agricultural co-ops, commercial distributors and others, who were in possession of these products on Feb. 6 may sell and distribute OTT dicamba using deadlines that vary by state. Commercial applicators will also be permitted to sell and distribute OTT products in their possession until the relevant end-use date in their respective states.
End dates for sale and distribution of existing stocks of OTT dicamba products, as well as cutoff dates for use, are as follows, by state:
-- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa: Sale and distribution until May 13, 2024; Cutoff date of June 12, 2024, or V4 growth stage in soybeans or 1st square growth in cotton.
-- Minnesota, south of Interstate 94: Sale and distribution until May 13, 2024; Cutoff date of June 12, 2024.
-- Minnesota, north of Interstate 94: Sale and distribution until May 31, 2024; Cutoff date of June 30, 2024.
-- South Dakota: Sale and distribution until May 21, 2024; Cutoff date of June 20, 2024.
-- All other states where OTT dicamba products were previously registered for use: Sale and distribution for use on dicamba-tolerant soybean until May 31, 2024; Cutoff date of June 30, 2024. Sale and distribution for use on dicamba-tolerant cotton until June 30, 2024; Cutoff date of July 30, 2024.
While the EPA order fell short of allowing the registrants to continue the distribution and sale of their OTT dicamba formulations, it provided some relief for farmers who spent the past week uncertain if they would be allowed to use OTT dicamba that they may have already purchased or planned to use this season.
"It's good news, and we appreciate the quick action from EPA," said Josh Gackle, a farmer from Kulm, North Dakota, and president of the American Soybean Association, during a phone interview with DTN. "The order is really close to what we asked for from EPA, to provide that certainty. Farmers make plans on what traits they'll use on their farms and what crop-protection tools go along with them. Those decisions were made months ago, so we're happy to see that what we planned for months isn't taken away at the last minute."
In a statement, the National Cotton Council (NCC) said it appreciated the timely action by EPA to issue an existing-stocks order to give producers better clarity for the planting season already underway.
"We commend them for recognizing that growers had already committed to the seeds and crop protection products for the coming year, and no viable alternatives would have been available to meet the needs of U.S. producers," the NCC statement said. "Under the circumstances, EPA's order will provide much-needed relief for growers already facing difficult economic conditions."
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture also expressed satisfaction with the existing stocks order.
"As co-regulatory partners with EPA committed to preserving environmental stewardship, protecting the rural economy and securing a healthy food supply chain, NASDA commends EPA on issuing an existing stocks order for dicamba that is inclusive of products that are in the possession of growers or in the channels of trade," said NASDA CEO Ted McKinney in a statement to DTN. "Today's action will prevent severe detrimental impacts to our food, fuel and fiber availability."
Product registrants Bayer and Syngenta also welcomed the development.
"We welcome the EPA's swift action so customers who have already invested in XtendiMax can continue to use and benefit from the technology this season," a Bayer company spokesperson wrote in an email to DTN. "Our top priority is that growers have the products and support they need to have a successful season."
"We are pleased that EPA's order allows the distribution and sale of Tavium that was already held by distributors and retailers as of Feb. 6," wrote a Syngenta spokesperson. "The order provides clear guidance to growers, applicators and the commercial channel on the end dates for sale, distribution and use of Tavium. EPA properly weighed the concerns of growers and other stakeholders and correctly concluded that the limited sale, distribution and use of Tavium is consistent with the purposes of FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act)."
DTN will have more reaction and continued coverage of the EPA Dicamba Existing Stocks Order later this week.
Read the EPA Existing Stocks Order for OTT Dicamba products here: https://www.epa.gov/….
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