Arkansas Seeks Legislative Fix to Dicamba Damage and More

5 of 21 Arkansas Seeks Legislative Fix to Dicamba Damage and More

Legislation to Protect Land & Crops from Dicamba Introduced in Arkansas

Bill to aiming to protect Arkansas’ diverse crops and natural environments from excessive and avoidable dicamba damage was recently introduced in the Arkansas House of Representatives. The Bill cites to the findings of independent and academic scientific research which shows a correlation between ambient air temperature and dicamba volatility, and points to several other States that have adopted temperature-based cut-offs for dicamba applications.
The Bill (HB 1800) would require the Arkansas State Plant Board to consider independent scientific research on dicamba drift and volatility, and to promulgate a new rules for in-crop use of dicamba. The Bill also directs the Plant Board to specify a new cut-off date for dicamba applications between April 1 and June 12. The Bill is expected to be taken up by the House Agriculture Committee this coming Monday, April 4, 2023. You can read the Bill here.

State AGs Urge Federal Right-to-Repair Legislation

In a report by DTN Progressive Farmer, a group of 27 State Attorney Generals have joined together in a letter calling on Congress to enact federal right-to-repair legislation. The State AG’s indicated that the right to repair “is a bipartisan issue that impacts every consumer, household, and farm in a time of increasing inflation.” The issue involves a wide range of products, from autos, to ag equipment, to cell phones and other electronic equipment with embedded electronics and software that are impossible to repair except by the orignal equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The letter cites to three bills introduced in the last legislative session:

  • The Fair Repair Act aimed at providing tools, parts, and documentation necessary for repairs.
  • The SMART Act aimed at limiting liability for infringement of design patents when using after-market parts for repairing the exterior of an auto (e.g., fenders, hoods, etc.)
  • The REPAIR Act aimed at requiring OEMs to release data required for repair and calibration.

You can read more here.

USDA Issues Report on Competition in Seed and Ag Inputs

On March 6 the USDA released its report, “More and Better Choices for Farmers: Promoting Fair Competition and Innovation in Seeds and Other Agricultural Inputs” after requesting public comments on competition in the seed and ag input sector last year. The report analyzed the impact of industry consolidation and the U.S. intellectual property regime on competition, innovation, and market access, and included several recommendations, and prioritizing immediate action items.

  • USDA will establish a Farmer Seed Liaison to “enhance transparency and help farmers, small to mid-sized seed businesses, and plant breeders navigate the complex seed system. Responsibilities will include facilitating communications between farmers, plant breeders, and federal agencies involved in the intellectual property system to promote fair competition in the seed industry.
  • A new Working Group on Competition and Intellectual Property will be established between the USDA and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which will implement several initiatives regarding competition in the seed market. Among the Group’s responsibilities will be to examine the patent application process for plant-related applications and ensure that claimed inventions actually qualify for patent protection. It will also look into initiatives to make it easier to determine whether plants and seeds are patented, as well as access to off-patented germplasm.
  • The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will emphasize enforcement of the varietal labeling requirements and false advertising provisions of the Federal Seed Act. A Notice to Trade was issued by AMS on these efforts which can be read here.

The report also contemplates improving and expanding access for filing complaints on unfair trade practices in the seed industry through the Farmer Fairness Portal.

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