The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued draft ecological risk assessments for 27 pesticides that are raising alarm among farmers nationwide.
July 7 is the deadline to tell EPA to allow continued responsible use of these vital crop protection tools by visiting the Michigan Farm Bureau Legislative Action Center; no login required. The site is easy to use, and with prewritten comments provided, it takes just a few minutes to complete.
Michigan farmers would be among the most affected in the country because of the state’s crop diversity. Corn, soy, sugar beets, dry beans, tomatoes, peppers, blueberries, alfalfa, wheat, grapes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, pumpkin, zucchini, gourds, carrots, potatoes, and leafy greens production may all be affected.
The list of pesticides reviewed by the EPA includes chemicals known as pyrethroids and are made available by AMVAC, BASF, Bayer, FMC, Syngenta and Valent.
Michigan Farm Bureau’s comments submitted to EPA on behalf of the organization’s membership outline the concern that EPA’s assessments groups large numbers of pyrethroids together in an overarching and incomplete assessment, and also assumes use rates and durations of exposure that are way beyond growers’ actual experiences.
Equally as important, the comments highlight the soil conservation techniques Michigan farmers use to keep topsoil and crop input products like pesticides and fertilizers on the field and out of surface water and groundwater.
The following is an excerpt from MFB’s official comments to EPA:
“We respectfully ask EPA to consider the soil conservation practices modern farmers use to reduce runoff before restricting uses for pyrethroids. Along with many other farmers, we understand the science behind the products we use…
As farmers, we study new technology in order to make our businesses more efficient for today and more sustainable for the future. By applying new, research-backed practices and adopting continually advancing technologies, our farmers are always changing for the better. Here’s a sampling of what continuous improvement looks like for our members:
These practices and the chemical qualities of pyrethroids, including their low water solubility, mean these chemistries doesn’t move off the field and into surface water. They biodegrade in sunlight, so they affect only the organisms they target: the yield-robbing, crop-damaging insects responsible farmers must manage if they hope to continue feeding the world with the high-quality crops consumers expect and deserve.”