Steve Smith is Agriculture Director of Red Gold Tomatoes and has led the charge against the overuse of chemicals on farm fields. In this conversation he talks about the fight against the E.P.A. approval of dicamba-tolerant soybeans--a situation that has caused the death of thousands of acres of neighboring fields and dicamba is sprayed and drifts to neighbors.
This conversation with Steve Smith covers the following issue: When the Environmental Protection Agency approved dicamba-tolerant soybeans for planting, the approval followed the failure of other chemical-dependent GMO (genetically modified organism) crops. Weeds had quickly become tolerant of the chemical Roundup, which was the first poison spray to be used on growing GMOs. Now, agribusiness is going to more potent chemicals. Dicamba-tolerant crops, introduced in 2017, are the first of a long list of future crops and the EPA's rubber-stamp approval has meant that thousands of acres were quickly planted. For neighbors, the spray is particularly damaging because it can readily turn into a vapor and drift wherever the wind blows. In 2019, state departments of agriculture were overwhelmed by complaints--so many that they could not investigate fast enough. A coalition of organizations, including National Family Farm Coalition, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and Pesticide Action Network, N.A., sued EPA in court and won! It's the beginning of a long battle against well-armed opponents, but in this David-and-Goliath court case, the right side prevailed.