Monsanto mon will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weedkiller that has been linked to widespread crop damage, offering an incentive to use its product even as regulators in several U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use.
The incentive to use XtendiMax with VaporGrip, a herbicide based on a chemical known as dicamba, could refund farmers over half the sticker price of the product in 2018 if they spray it on soybeans that Monsanto engineered to resist it, according to company data.
The United States faced an agricultural crisis this year caused by new formulations of dicamba-based herbicides, which farmers and weed experts say harmed crops because they evaporated and drifted away from where they were sprayed.
Monsanto says XtendiMax is safe when properly applied. The company is banking on the chemical and soybean seeds engineered to resist it, called Xtend, to dominate soybean production in the U.S., the world’s second-largest exporter.
Germany’s BASF and DowDuPont also sell versions of dicamba-based herbicides.
Monsanto’s cash-back offer comes as federal and state regulators are requiring training for farmers who plan to spray dicamba in 2018 and limiting when it can be used. Weed specialists say the restrictions make the chemical more costly and inconvenient to apply, but Monsanto’s incentive could help convince farmers to use it anyway. . .