An Overview of Dicamba-Related Litigation
Dicamba is a powerful herbicide that has been used for years to combat difficult-to-control weeds such as palmer amaranth, commonly known as pigweed. While dicamba is an extremely effective herbicide, it has problems with volatility, easily becoming airborne and drifting off-target during application. Due to its issues with volatility, dicamba has historically been applied prior to the start of planting in order to kill off weed seeds without damaging crops. However, in 2015 Monsanto Company launched a line of dicamba-resistant soybean and cotton seeds. Following that launch, the Environmental Protection Agency approved dicamba-based herbicides from both Monsanto Company and BASF Corporation for in-crop use.
Since then, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against both Monsanto Company (which has since been acquired by Bayer) and BASF Corporation for harm caused by dicamba. All the lawsuits filed in the federal court system have been consolidated into one case containing both plaintiffs alleging crop damage and plaintiffs accusing Monsanto/Bayer of violating federal antitrust laws. A lawsuit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of violating the law by approving dicamba-based pesticides for in-crop use has also been filed, as has a lawsuit by Monsanto/Bayer against the Arkansas State Plant Board for passing regulations effectively preventing the use of dicamba-based pesticides within the State of Arkansas.
The following eight-part series, published by the National Agricultural Law Center, discusses several on-going lawsuits concerning the chemical herbicide known as dicamba. The outcome of these lawsuits may have far-reaching impacts on how pesticides and pesticide-resistant, genetically-engineered crops are used in agriculture. Also listed below is a link to a one-hour webinar on dicamba recorded by the National Agricultural Law Center on April 15, 2020.
Last updated April 7, 2021
Created by Brigit Rollins, staff attorney with the National Agricultural Law Center.