I'll spend quite a bit of time on Clearfield rice in this and upcoming articles, just as I did in the grower meetings. In one sense, it is a lot of time and space on a rice that if it is available, will be available only on a very limited acreage in 2001.

However, I spent a lot of time talking about Command for two years before the 1999 Section 18, and I feel it paid off.

First, I will bring you up to date on the status of Clearfield rice, as best we know it. This should clear up some confusion and perhaps create some more. After the states submitted the Section 18 packages, EPA apparently decided that red rice didn't fit its definition of an emergency because red rice has been a problem in rice too long to be a new problem.

In all of the years I have done Section 18 requests, I had never heard that one. We have routinely been approved for herbicides on weeds that have been problems for years but for which we previously had no herbicides for control.

Anyway, the EPA requested that the states withdraw the Section 18 requests and asked BASF to prepare what some have termed β€œthe world's largest EUP.” An EUP is a experimental use permit that is usually granted on very small acreages when a chemical needs to be tested beyond the small plot stage. While not always, an EUP usually requires destruction of the crop.

Our guys at the Plant Board did not believe the use of Clearfield rice fit the definition of an EUP. I agree. We thought our best position was to leave our Section 18 request in because it is very defendable. The next things we heard (through the rumor mill) was that the Section 18 would be denied and Arkansas would be left off the EUP label. This one caused a lot of telephone calls.

The Plant Board immediately got that fixed. We thought we would rather have the Section 18, but if EPA chose the EUP route, we were back in.

The next thing that apparently happened was Arkansas, and perhaps Texas, tried to persuade the EPA that short of just granting the full federal label, that a 24-C (Special Local Need state label) would be the best route to go. That apparently met with some favorable response. I have been asked to write a letter of support for a 24-C label.

However, I was also told that Louisiana had just resubmitted its Section 18 request. If it sounds like this thing has involved rumors, confusion and misinformation, that's because it has. If you are confused about Section 18s, EUPs and 24-Cs, so am I. The bottom line is I feel good that one of the three will be issued. For the grower, it likely won't make a lot of difference which one. I hope (and believe) it will be the 24-C, the simplest for the company, the Plant Board and the growers.

You can rest assured that whichever avenue the EPA chooses, Arkansas will be included. Next week I will discuss labels.


Ford Baldwin is an Arkansas Extension weed scientist. E-mail: fbaldwin@uaex.edu.

NOTE: The 2001 Arkansas Extension guides Recommended Chemicals for Weed and Brush Control in Arkansas are available. Single copies can be picked up free at any county Extension office in Arkansas. Anyone who wants multiple copies, is from out of state, or just wants the convenience of ordering, can send a request to: MP-44, Cooperative Extension Service, P.O. Box 391, Little Rock, Ark. 72203. The cost for ordering is $5 per copy.