Why is Monsanto Offering Cash for Farmers to Keep Using Controversial Dicamba?
Is Monsanto getting desperate and worried about losing the trust of farmers? The ongoing Dicamba crisis gets a little more complicated with the installment of new restrictions.
The monolithic corporation is now offering cash incentives to keep farmers using a chemical that is now restricted in several states. Bayer and DuPont also sell their own versions of the herbicides.
Monsanto Co  will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weed killer that has been linked to widespread crop damage, offering an incentive to apply its product even as regulators in several U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use.
The incentive to use XtendiMax with VaporGrip, a herbicide based on a chemical known as dicamba, could refund farmers over half the sticker price of the product in 2018 if they spray it on soybeans Monsanto engineered to resist the weed killer, according to company data.
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The United States faced an agricultural crisis this year caused by new formulations of dicamba-based herbicides, which farmers and weed experts say harmed crops because they evaporated and drifted away from where they were sprayed.
Monsanto says XtendiMax is safe when properly applied. The company is banking on the chemical and soybean seeds engineered to resist it, called Xtend, to dominate soybean production in the United States, the world’s second-largest exporter.
Federal and state regulators are now requiring training for farmers who plan to spray dicamba in 2018 and are restricting when it can be used.
Weed specialists are now saying that because of these restrictions it will actually be more costly and inconvenient for farmers to apply the chemical. “Utilizing the technology, the cost will go up because of these changes,” said Andrew Thostenson, a pesticide specialist for North Dakota State University.
So really, a cash incentive from Monsanto is more of a “cash-back” or reimbursement as a way to help off-set extra costs that might repel farmers from using the new biotech.
“XtendiMax costs about $11 per acre to buy, and Monsanto is offering an extra $6 per acre in cash back to farmers when they apply it on Xtend soybeans, rather than using another seed-and-chemical combination to control weeds,” the report says.
Yahoo News continues:
The rebate means farmers can receive up to $11.50 per acre in cash back next year when they use XtendiMax along with other approved chemicals, such as one called Intact that aims to prevent drift and costs $2.40 per acre, according to Monsanto.
The company, which launched a program offering incentives to use multiple herbicides in 2010, competes against rivals including Bayer AG <BAYGn.DE> to sell genetically modified soybean seeds and chemicals to farmers.
Bayer is selling its LibertyLink soybean brand, a main rival to Xtend, to BASF as part of a deal to acquire Monsanto for $63.5 billion.
Monsanto also faces increasing government oversight.
Missouri, North Dakota, Arkansas and more have specific limitations for Dicamba use following massive damaged crops after the drift traveled during the summer. The damage was approximated to be 4 percent of 90 million soybean crops. However, other plant crops were damaged by drift, too.
The states are taking action after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandated special training for dicamba users for 2018 and required farmers to keep records proving they were complying with label instructions.
Farmers believe that Monsanto is offering cash back to increase sales, and “Monsanto predicts farmers will double plantings of Xtend soybeans to about 40 million acres next year.”
This post (Why is Monsanto Offering Cash for Farmers to Keep Using Controversial Dicamba?) originally appeared at Natural Blaze and can be republished keeping all links, bio intact.
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