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Annals Of Hubris: Dicamba Edition

August 30, 2017

sprayed_weeds

Just another example of how industrial ag’s endless cycle of pairing new herbicides with new GMO strains leads not to a stable, safe ag system, but to poisonous unintended consequences:

Farmers are locked in an arms race between ever-stronger weeds and ever-stronger weed killers.

The dicamba system, approved for use for the first time this spring, was supposed to break the cycle and guarantee weed control in soybeans and cotton. The herbicide — used in combination with a genetically modified dicamba-resistant soybean — promises better control of unwanted plants such as pigweed, which has become resistant to common weed killers.

The problem, farmers and weed scientists say, is that dicamba has drifted from the fields where it was sprayed, damaging millions of acres of unprotected soybeans and other crops in what some are calling a man-made disaster. Critics say that the herbicide was approved by federal officials without enough data, particularly on the critical question of whether it could drift off target.

This is a perfect representation of a badly broken system, where profits, regulatory capture and the false lure of better farming through technology are devastating farmlands and the environments around them. Organic ag (or “regenerative ag” to be more cutting-edge) isn’t perfect. But it is definitely a superior model, which is why paying a bit more is worth the cost (eat a bit less, which is also good, to compensate).

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