Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley — a man who has seemingly been at the center of Monsanto’s PR campaign launched in the wake of this summer’s unfortunate dicamba drift situation across the U.S. — has issued an open letter to farmers, asking them to work with Monsanto if they are seeing cupped leaves in the field and suspect dicamba drift as the culprit.
Full text of Fraley’s letter is below:
Farmers are the heart and soul of our company. Our mission is to discover and develop innovative new products to help you achieve better harvests in a more environmentally sustainable way. Your success is our success, and we are committed to supporting you at every stage of the season — every year.
You told us you needed additional tools to combat tough-to-control weeds. We responded by developing Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean and Roundup Ready XtendFlex cotton seeds that are tolerant to dicamba. We also developed a new dicamba formulation, XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, which has been proven to reduce the volatility potential of dicamba by 90% as compared to Clarity, and 99% as compared to Banvel and other DMA-based dicamba formulations. Working closely with states, we have trained thousands of farmers and professional applicators on how to use our products successfully.
We are hearing that the overwhelming majority of farmers are experiencing tremendous success during this first year of commercial launch. However, we have also heard reports that some farmers are noticing signs of leaf cupping in nearby soybean fields, which could be attributable to dicamba. Any time we hear reports of potential crop injury, from any cause, it concerns us.We know the passion, energy and financial resources you invest in your fields. Your crop is your livelihood, and you only get one shot a year. We understand.
We are taking these reports extremely seriously, and we want you to know what we’re doing about them.
First, we want you to know that we will be with you every step of the way this season. What caused the leaf cupping symptoms may not be readily apparent, as many factors can cause this type of symptomology. And in most cases, it is too early to know whether the leaf cupping will affect your crop yield. Right now, we ask that you contact us as soon as possible at 1–844-RRXTEND to report any leaf cupping or other symptomology you are seeing in your fields that you believe might be the result of off-target herbicide movement. Once we have your report, one of our agronomic specialists will contact you to arrange a time to meet you at your field and to review the symptomology together. We are working to respond to each report we receive from our farmer-customers and we will stand by you throughout the growing season.
Second, we have deployed scientists from The Climate Corporation, one of our subsidiaries, to review weather data from across the growing region this season to help understand whether unusual environmental conditions or weather patterns might have affected applications this season. We will analyze this data to glean insights to support our work in the field.
Finally, we will continue and expand our outreach, education and training efforts going into the 2018 season to ensure that you feel fully comfortable and confident in successfully using our products. We’ll continue to partner closely with our retailers, extension agents and individual customers to make sure you experience the full potential of this breakthrough technology.
I want to personally thank you for your business and partnership. We must earn your trust and your business each year, and we are committed to doing that by delivering the best-performing technology in the industry. We are also committed to ensuring that you have an outstanding experience with our products.
Please, if you are experiencing leaf cupping in soybeans or other unexpected symptomology, don’t wait. Please call us today and allow us to work with you throughout this season.
Chief Technology Officer