The federal government mandated the training last fall in a deal with agribusiness giants Monsanto, BASF and DuPont.
All three make special formulations of dicamba for use on new soybean and cotton varieties that are genetically engineered to resist the herbicide, using seed technology commercialized by Monsanto.
The products are increasingly popular because they give farmers a new weapon against aggressive weeds that have become resistant to other herbicides. But many farmers who didn't use dicamba last year reported damage to their crops and blamed nearby farms that did use it.
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Tens of thousands of soybean and cotton farmers across the country are getting free but mandatory training on how to properly use a weed killer blamed for drifting and damaging crops in neighboring fields.