The Missouri House Select Committee on Agriculture Chairman says Monsanto will be invited to Wednesday’s hearing in Portageville about pesticide complaints.

Representative Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho)

Representative Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho)

The Missouri Department of Agriculture testified Thursday that there have been more than 120 pesticide complaints involving dicamba since late June. State Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho) chairs the House Select Committee on Agriculture, which will hold Wednesday’s hearing at noon at the Portageville Delta Center.

“We’re going to invite Monsanto as well, and we’re going to take some written testimony and then we may have a follow-up hearing during (the September) Veto Session up here (Jefferson City) so that some of our Committee members that perhaps can’t come on the 31st we can update them as well, and then we’ll put a final report together,” Reiboldt says.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture told members of the Missouri House Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources on Thursday that it will take several months to finish their investigation into the complaints. The complaints have come from six counties: five in far southeast Missouri and one in northwest Missouri’s Carroll County.

During Thursday’s testimony at the Statehouse in Jefferson City, State Rep. Jay Houghton (R-Martinsburg) asked MDA Division Director Judy Grundler why the investigations take so long.

“Primarily, it’s the investigation process. We have to go through and each investigator takes statements from any of the individuals that are involved. They summarize all of their statements in a report,” Grundler told Rep. Houghton.

Grundler also told lawmakers that MDA sends samples to an Iowa lab for analysis. Grundler testified that MDA has eight investigators working on the complaints.

State Rep. Don Rone (R-Portageville) will file legislation in January to increase penalties on those who illegally spray pesticides. Rone tells Missourinet he wants to increase the fine from $1,000 per field, to $20,000 per field.

“And the reason being is Arkansas just last week went to $20,000 a field. And we’re down there (the Bootheel) closer to Arkansas than we are Jefferson City. And so, we need to be kind of looking toward what they do,” Rone says.

Rone serves on the House Select Committee on Agriculture, which will hold Wednesday’s hearing at the Fisher Delta Research Center. Rone wants to hear from growers, from industry and from the University of Missouri.

Committee Chair Reiboldt says he looks forward to the hearing and getting the information out. He also tells Missourinet he wants EPA to testify Wednesday.