Monsanto, the company that makes the controversial weed killer Roundup, is setting farmer against farmer and state against state with its newest product, dicamba. Amid claims and counterclaims over effectiveness and safety of crops and humans, the debate is shedding new light on how new agricultural products are introduced, tested and regulated. One major difference with dicamba is the gaseous vaporization it uses to treat crops, causing the poison to spread onto neighboring plants via wind. Brad Williams, a Missouri farmer, says that leaves on trees were “so deformed you couldn’t even really identify the differences between them.”
The manufacturer claims that proper usage protocols are not being followed. Some farmers agree, while others report crop damage and human health issues. One pivotal point of debate is which federal and state agencies have jurisdiction and the power to set enforceable guidelines. At stake are millions of acres that have already been sprayed, along with the future of non-GMO farms inadvertently contaminated by the dicamba sprayed on genetically modified crops that need the poison to survive.