JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri agriculture officials asking for funding to hire more staff to address a backlog of nearly 600 complaints from farmers who claim dicamba-based herbicide drift has damaged their crops.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture last week asked state lawmakers for money to hire four investigators and two staff members to review the cases, some of which date back to 2016, St. Louis Public Radio reported.
"We had a team that was the right size for an average year of around 100 complaints, and the number of (dicamba complaints) coming in has been the No. 1 complicating factor," said Sami Jo Freeman, the agriculture department's spokeswoman.
Farmers across the country have complained that dicamba drifts from other fields and damages their crops, particularly soybeans. In Missouri, most of the damage has been in southeastern counties.
Farmers have been using dicamba for more than 50 years but complaints increased in 2016 after Monsanto released dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans, which led to increased use of dicamba-based herbicides.