PEORIA — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Daiber called Thursday for Illinois to join Missouri and Arkansas in imposing a ban on the herbicide dicamba.
"I do not believe there are safeguards in place as of this day to safely use the herbicide in its current state," said Daiber, who is himself a farmer planting corn and soybeans.
He noted bans on the herbicide's use in Missouri and Arkansas and said he was concerned about the fact that of 430 pesticide-related complaints filed with the state Department of Agriculture last year, 246 were related to dicamba.
Daiber said the overall health of the soybean industry — where Illinois led the nation last year in total bushels harvested and in per-acre yield — is threatened by the chemical's use.
He also said that farmers are at risk of increased insurance claims — adding cost across the industry — and that some applicators and seed dealers are expressing resistance to the idea of using dicamba.
Asked whether both weren't indications that the market was resolving the question of the chemical's use independently, Daiber said that regulation was still important to prevent added expense to insurance companies and, ultimately, to farmers.
On a company website created to answer questions about it, Monsanto stresses the formula for the herbicide underwent "extensive testing specifically for volatility and off-target movement" and that it has worked with states to establish training programs for its safe use and application.
Daiber said that if state agriculture officials don't act, he'll begin looking into finding lawmakers willing to introduce legislation to impose a ban.
Chris Kaergard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard