Herbicide-resistant weeds are the result of evolutionary processes that make it easy to think about the problem from a purely biological perspective. Yet, the act of weed management, guided by human production of food and fiber, drives this biological process. Thus, the problem is socioeconomic as well as biological. The purpose of this article is to explain how well-known socioeconomic phenomena create barriers to herbicide-resistance management and highlight important considerations for knocking down these barriers. The key message is that the multidimensional problem requires a multifaceted approach that recognizes differences among farmers; engages the regulatory, academic, extension, seed and chemical suppliers, and farmer communities; and aligns the diverse interests of the members of these communities with a common goal that benefits all—more sustainable weed management. It also requires an adaptive approach that transitions from more-uniform and costly standards and incentives, which can be effective in the near-term but are unsustainable, to more-targeted and less-costly approaches that are sustainable in the long term.
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Vol. 64 • No. sp1