There’s a weedkiller used across the country that’s created a new divide between farmers. In Arkansas, people who work the land are at odds over a herbicide called dicamba. In this episode of Us & Them, host Trey Kay and reporter Loretta Williams follow up on a story that’s gotten ugly over the past couple years.
A newer version of the herbicide is designed to give soybean and cotton farmers a way during the growing season to combat pigweed, a tenacious plant that can take over fields. However, there's evidence that the chemical can evaporate from where it was sprayed and move to harm other plants. It’s become so controversial that some farmers and backyard gardeners are afraid to complain about crop or plant damage.
On the other side of the debate, farmers who want to use the herbicide have gone to court and challenged who gets to make the rules about pesticide use in the state. Rural farm communities are typically tight-knit and if one farmer has a problem with another, they meet at what is called the “turn row'' to talk things out.
But that’s not what's happening in Arkansas. The atmosphere has gotten just plain un-neighborly.
This episode of Us & Them is presented with support from the West Virginia Humanities Council and the CRC Foundation.
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