Missouri governor OKs higher fines for illegal herbicide use

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has signed a law to increase fines for illegal use of herbicides that damage other farmers' crops.

Greitens signed the bill Thursday, before a ceremonial signing during a Friday visit to southeast Missouri.

That area's been hit by crop damage after the herbicide dicamba was sprayed on crops in an unauthorized manner. The herbicide drifted to neighboring fields and harmed nonresistant crops in 2015 and 2016.

The new law allows the Department of Agriculture to fine anyone who damages another farmer's crops, land or property with an improperly used herbicide.

The agency can fine farmers up to $10,000 for each instance of damage and $25,000 for repeat offenses.

The measure passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and little opposition.

It takes effect immediately.