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Lawmakers Approve Ban on Disputed Herbicide

Monsanto has asked a judge to prevent the restriction from taking effect.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers on Friday approved banning an herbicide that farmers say has drifted onto crops where it wasn't applied and caused damage, but the prohibition still faces a legal challenge from a maker of the weed killer.

The Legislative Council, without discussion, approved the Plant Board's plan to ban dicamba from April 16 through Oct. 31. A subcommittee earlier this week recommended that the council — the Legislature's main governing body when lawmakers aren't in session — approve the proposal.

Dicamba has been around for decades, but problems arose over the past couple of years as farmers began to use it to kill invasive weeds in soybean and cotton fields where specially engineered seeds had been planted to resist the herbicide.

The board proposed the ban after receiving nearly 1,000 complaints last year about the weed killer drifting onto fields and damaging crops not resistant to the herbicide.

Arkansas is one of several states where farmers have complained about dicamba drifting.

Monsanto, a maker of dicamba, has asked a state judge to prevent the restriction from taking effect. A hearing is scheduled next month in the St. Louis-based company's lawsuit.

"We've committed to growers and our customers that we will pursue (the lawsuit) until it is complete to see if we can't help them have access to modern technology and have the maximum amount of choice," said Scott Partridge, Monsanto's vice president of global strategy.

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