Gov. Asa Hutchinson has approved the state Plant Board’s proposed rule changes to place additional restrictions on the herbicde dicamba.

The weedkiller has been in long use, but can cause problems for soybeans and other crops when it drifts. Monsanto has developed a soybean seed that is resistant to dicamba and also a new form of the herbicide, XtendiMax with VaporGrip, that is supposedly less likely to drift but received EPA approval only two months ago.

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The Plant Board voted limits on various types of dicamba and required training for anyone who used one type of the herbicide on genetically modified seed.

Hutchinson said he’d concluded the proposed rules wouldn’t “unnecessarily burden business” and approved them. But he added:


However, the methods that are used and the research on which the Plant Board relies in approving new technologies must be more clearly defined in order to provide more certainty to all companies attempting to introduce these technologies in Arkansas. To this end, I am tasking the Plant Board to submit a solution to me within forty-five (45) days, which provides clear rules to industry as to what the Plant Board expects in terms of prior study and testing by independent third party research.

Here’s the governor’s full letter.