Hygeia Note — The below email was sent to a group of individuals on June 1, 2020 by Lou Nelms, and is posted here with his permission. Words in [brackets] were added by Hygeia for clarity.
Nelms has monitored the impact of dicamba and 2,4-D use, drift, and volatilization in Illinois since the beginning of the Xtendimax experiment in 2016 (dicamba and glyphosate resistant soybeans) and approval of DuoEnlist in 2018 (2,4-D and glyphosate-resistant soybeans). These technologies allow post-emergent applications of these two high-risk herbicide phenoxy herbicides, along with glyphosate on soybeans and cotton.
Nelms has spoken and written widely on the dicamba and 2,4-D use and its worrisome impacts on the trees, foliage, and people of rural Illinois — including one of the biggest post oaks in the state, that is struggling to survive in the face of annual herbicide exposures.
Email from Lou Nelms, June 1, 2020
I am presenting a screenshot of the local forecast from the NWS [National Weather Service] from Lincoln, IL for this week, showing that there is not going to be a single day this week that dicamba can legally be applied OTT [Over The Top, i.e. post-emergence on GMO XtendiMax soybeans] to dicamba soybeans, because of wind and temperature restrictions [on the dicamba label]. While waterhemp, a primary herbicide-resistant weed target, has emerged in many fields around here, and by the end of the week, much of it will have grown taller than its most susceptible stage of 4 inches or less in height. Like dicamba, weeds do not obey label law and make a mockery of attempting to regulate volatile products that are simply not within the bounds of effective and credible regulation. Yet this fiasco of attempting the impossible goes on, making liars of proponents and fools of enablers, while eroding trust in regulatory authority.
Wind has exceeded the restricted limits the past couple of days, yet there have been sprayers in the fields. While closely observing farming the last few years in central IL, propped up by the dicamba watchtower, it has become clearly evident that there is no way that IL corn and soybean crops can be “successfully” grown on millions of acres without widespread breaking of pesticide label law. And of course, there are no enforcement officers on field patrol.
Self policing has always been by wink and nod — the quite rubbery backbone of pesticide regulation. And it pains me greatly, realizing the dire financial straits of many farmers, that it will be up to citizens and neighbors, once again in this difficult time, to file pesticide complaints and force any accountability to this greatly un-monitored and greatly under-regulated system of industrial agriculture that irresponsible and unaccountable monopolies like Bayer have been allowed to exploit, full tilt. “Feeding the world” on _ullshit.
Mason City, IL