Crops News

First farmer to face legal trouble due to Dicamba drift

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With the recent announcement from the EPA for the approved renewal of Dicamba products for the next two growing years, everything looked good for farmers interested in the new technology. However, one Missouri farmer did not receive good news concerning his Dicamba problem.

Bobby Lowrey and Lowrey & Lowrey Inc. from Parma, Missouri, were indicted Nov. 13, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Louis. Lowery is the first farmer to receive federal charges related to alleged Dicamba misuse. The indictment says Lowery used the Dicamba product improperly in 2016, lied to investigators, and then falsified documents to try and cover up the lies.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “On multiple occasions in 2016, under the direction of Bobby David Lowrey, dicamba-based pesticides were applied at Lowrey Farms post-planting to cotton and to non-mature soybean crops prior to the approved preharvest application interval. Multiple farmers with crops growing in the vicinity of soybean and cotton fields or plots cultivated by Lowrey Farms reported damage to their crops in May and June of 2016 consistent with drift from the use of dicamba-based pesticides applied on Lowrey Farms.” After the multiple complaints from neighboring farms, the Missouri Dept. of Ag requested the spray application records for his cotton and soybean crops. 

The Indictment alleges 49 instances of misapplication of a pesticide, a false statement, and three acts of obstruction of justice. If convicted, Lowrey faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000.

This comes just days after Missouri Deptartment of Ag announced it will not pursue Special Local Needs labels for the products. According to the department’s press release, ” The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced it will not pursue Special Local Needs (24c) labels for the use of Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax for the 2019 growing season. This announcement follows the EPA’s decision to extend the registration of these three Dicamba products for another two years with additional safeguards. EPA has enhanced the previous labels and put in place additional safeguards in an effort to increase the success and safe use of the product in the field.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Agricultural.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of AGDAILY. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
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