Dow and Monsanto’s failed glyphosate-resistant crops have caused cotton farmers in Texas to reach for a new concoction of chemicals, namely 2,4-D and dicamba. They are threatening the viability of vineyards across Texas.
The $2 billion wine and grape industry won’t be able to compete with the pesticide-heavy farms that surround their vineyards if wine lovers and GMO-free supporters don’t act. Due to the prevalence of superweeds created by Monsanto’s RoundUp, farmers are trying to eradicate them with new chemicals that create pesticide drift, often mutating vines on neighboring vineyards for multiple seasons of wine growing.
2,4-D chemicals have already put one farmer, Monty Dixon, president-elect of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association, out of business. When nearby wheat fields were sprayed with the chemical, his plants were damaged for more than one season. Dixon explains:
“It’s not just the clusters of grapes you see hanging that are harmed. It’s next year’s cluster and the cluster the year after that. You get a dose, it mutates the vines.”
Another winery, Bending Branch, started to notice problems when his grape leaves started to shrivel on the vine. He approached the nearby farmer who was using herbicides and asked him to stop. The farmer agreed he would switch to a ‘safer’ weed killer if the grape grower would pay the difference.
Bending Branch was forced to pay the farmer in order to try to keep his organic winery certification and ensure that a herbicide that was less prone to drift would be used. So – now we are paying farmers who use toxic, cancer-causing chemicals to NOT use them? Isn’t that a form of extortion?
According to the National Pesticide Information Center, dicamba is:
“. . .a selective herbicide in the chlorophenoxy family of chemicals. It comes in several salt formulations and an acid formulation. These forms of dicamba have different properties in the environment. Products with dicamba frequently contain other herbicides as well.”
I’d say dicamba herbicide isn’t too selective if it is prone to drift onto an organic winery or farm, damaging its plants, its pollinators, and its soil. Of course, Monsanto will take no accountability – but now even farmers using the stuff won’t either?
I suggest this particular farmer should visit someone from the Who’s Who of Organic Farming in America for some tips. There are over 1900 organic farmers across America who do take responsibility for their actions (including not poisoning the soil, and people) – he should too.
This article originally appeared at Natural Society.