Brownfield farmer appeals to congressman to lift new restrictions on Dicamba herbicide

Brownfield farmer appeals to congressman to lift new restrictions on Dicamba herbicide
Kirk Martin, President of the West Texas Young Farmers Association. (Source: KCBD Photo)

BROWNFIELD, Texas (KCBD) - A Brownfield cotton farmer wrote a letter to Congressman Jodey Arrington asking for his help after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put new restrictions on the use of a weed-killing chemical called Dicamba.

"I wrote this letter because I do want it to be informative. We're trying to produce more on the least amount of land possible," said Kirk Martin, President of the West Texas Young Farmers Association.

Dicamba is a chemical that kills weeds in crops. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals removed three out of four registrations in June, limiting which formulations may be sold.

Martin says Dicamba allows him to spray less on his cotton crops and makes it cheaper to do his job. He says spraying with Dicamba costs him around $10 an acre. Otherwise, he says, it would be anywhere from $15 to $60 an acre and it would take more time to spray down the crops.

A Brownfield cotton farmer wrote a letter to Congressman Jodey Arrington asking for his help after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put new restrictions on the use of a weed-killing chemical called Dicamba.
A Brownfield cotton farmer wrote a letter to Congressman Jodey Arrington asking for his help after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put new restrictions on the use of a weed-killing chemical called Dicamba. (Source: West Texas Young Farmers Association Facebook)

"We're being forced to farm thousands of acres to make ends meet," Martin said.

Martin says the year has already been tough on him with the small amount of rainfall.

"I've lost 90 percent of my crop, so I have 10 percent of my crop that's actually growing and that's just because it's irrigated, but that doesn't mean the weeds aren't growing."

Those opposed to the use of Dicamba say the product can be a danger to other nearby crops, drifting over and killing them.

Farmers are permitted to use what they have left in stock of the product and Martin says he will use what he has left.

Martin says he needs to grow as much cotton as he can since prices are already low.

"Cotton prices are 50-something cents per pound, 60 years ago it was the same price, but everything else that we buy to produce a crop has gone up."

Martin hopes that Congressman Arrington will answer.

“We have a good relationship with Jodey and I hope that he will take a look at it and get back with me on it because this is something that’s going to change this area very quickly if we don’t get it changed.”

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