MUNCIE — The Office of Indiana State Chemist (OISC) became bogged down last year investigating a record number of complaints about the agricultural herbicide dicamba drifting off target.
So much so that the agency says "other equally or more important pesticide compliance issues … have been ignored or short-changed."
Examples of areas where pesticide inspection, compliance and monitoring have been lax, the agency acknowledges, include:
• School pesticide use
• Golf course application safety
• Protection of bees and other pollinators
• Lawn-care application posting
• Community-wide mosquito control
• Applicator licensing and training
OISC has served primarily as a "dicamba response agency for most of 2017 and 2018," David Scott, the agency's pesticide administrator, told The Star Press.
Dicamba has been widely used on agricultural crops, pastures, turfgrass and other property since 1967, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But historically, most dicamba applications occurred in late winter or early spring for removal of broadleaf weeds prior to crop planting.
Off-target drift complaints skyrocketed after 2016, when EPA first registered dicamba formulations for “over-the-top” use to control weeds in fields of cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist dicamba.