Letter to the Editor | Farmers trained to handle dicamba

Letter to the Editor | Farmers trained to handle dicamba

I'm writing in response to Bruce Hannon's May 7 letter, "Farm sprays in air bring concerns."

As a farmer, I work with chemicals like dicamba every day. I understand how damaging they can be to people and plants when they aren't handled with care.

Unfortunately, Hannon made some incorrect assumptions about dicamba and how it's used.

To claim states have banned dicamba use isn't accurate. Arkansas, Missouri and a few other states restrict how long into the growing season dicamba herbicides may be used, but a complete ban on dicamba use (even in Arkansas) isn't holding.

Dicamba-resistant seeds represent proactive technology for farmers in their fight against resistant weeds. These tools help farmers apply fewer chemicals and inputs each year.

Finally, agriculture organizations and agencies across the state are working together ensuring farmers understand how to use dicamba properly and safely.

To apply dicamba, farmers must be certified applicators, which requires them to attend training, pass a test and pay for a license.

In Illinois, farmers must also complete special training designed for dicamba usage; over 11,000 farmers have completed this training.

Farmers make informed application decisions after checking online resources like DriftWatch.org, which identifies nearby specialty crops and apiaries with additional consideration to what their neighbors are planting and surveying the landscape for sensitive habitats.

Hannon isn't wrong when he says dicamba is a potent chemical and must be handled carefully. However, what he doesn't realize is Illinois farmers are already working proactively to do just that.