Missouri farmers hurting over illegal use of herbicide - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Missouri farmers hurting over illegal use of herbicide

(Source: James Heiser) (Source: James Heiser)
PORTAGEVILLE, MO (KFVS) -

The Missouri House Select Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on Wednesday, August 31 in Portageville, Missouri to look into the illegal spraying of a chemical called Dicamba. 

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has received more than 120 complaints regarding this since the end of June.

Dicamba is a chemical meant to kill weeds, but it has been killing the crops of some farmers.

One farmer said his loss is in the seven digits, and it's not just affecting him this growing season.

"It's not just what I'm losing this year," Bill Bader said. "When we lose a tree, a lot of them are four or five year old trees. It wont just affect me for this year, it will affect me for five years."

Officials said the issue stems from farmers using an old formula of Dicamba that then drifts into nearby fields.

Bader said he started seeing Dicamba damage over a year ago.

And he’s not alone.

"It ain't just me and the peaches, there's people that've lost gardens and people who have lost bushes, people with their shrubs in their yard, big oak tree, 100 year old trees," Bader said. 

But Bader said he isn’t giving up.

"We'll recover what we lost last year, but we're fighters and we're fighting back,” he said.

Representative Bill Reiboldt said one way to reduce the use of illegal spraying is by increasing the fine.

"They’re gonna toughen that fine, or hope to, to make it as high as $25,000 per incident," Representative Bill Reiboldt said. "This is all pending and we'll have more hearings as we move into the legislative session in January."

During the hearing, an official with the Department of Agriculture said the spraying complaints are coming from many counties, but are centered in the Pemiscot, Dunklin, Stoddard and New Madrid areas.

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