‘Dicamba Drift’: Monsanto Defends Herbicide as Farmers Say It Harms Crops

‘Dicamba Drift’: Monsanto Defends Herbicide as Farmers Say It Harms Crops

by Daniel Arkin

John Weiss looks over his crop of soybeans at his farm in Dell, Arkansas, on July 25. Weiss says his crop is showing signs of damage due to the drifting of the pesticide Dicamba. Karen Pulfer Focht / Reuters

Almost exactly a year ago, on Oct. 27, 2016, farm worker Allan Curtis Jones allegedly shot and killed soybean farmer Mike Wallace on a county road in Arkansas. The sheriff later told reporters that the two men had been arguing. Their dispute, the sheriff said, apparently revolved around a phenomenon known in the region as “dicamba drift.”

The use of dicamba, a powerful weedkiller that some farmers spray on soybeans and cotton fields, has become increasingly divisive in Arkansas and other heartland states, pitting farmers against each other. Many farmers say the chemical has wafted onto their fields, damaging crops that are not genetically modified to withstand it. Wallace, it seemed, believed it had drifted from a nearby farm and shriveled his soybeans. (Jones, who has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge, is slated to go to trial in December.)…