Next steps for farmers after chlorpyrifos decision


Next steps for farmers after chlorpyrifos decision

Many ag groups are wondering what will happen next after EPA’s decision to revoke all tolerances for the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Allison Crittenden, director of congressional relations with American Farm Bureau, says the decision wasn’t made through the typical pesticide registration review process.

“(The decision) is the product of anti-pesticide groups bringing forth a petition and EPA eventually deciding to grant that petition,” she says. “So, things aren’t happening really in regular order.”

Audio: Allison Crittenden

She tells Brownfield the new rule will take effect in six months and could cause some challenges for farmers.

“What happens if food products have chlorpyrifos residues after that six-month period,” she says. “…How is EPA going to work with FDA in managing those chlorpyrifos residues and what kind of responsibility will farmers have to prove that they were using this product per the label and were not breaking the law per this decision.”

Crittenden says she’s concerned the decision to revoke the tolerances for food use of chlorpyrifos “gives a playbook” to anti-pesticide organizations that don’t understand the benefits of having a variety of crop protection products.

She says AFBF engaged in a prior comment period and explained that chlorpyrifos is the most effective tool in a lot of scenarios.

“Now that we no longer will have that tool we’re going to see issues with resistance within insect population because we will have to use larger quantities of less effective products,” she says. “I think it’s an important reminder for folks to continue to engage in those comment periods and continue to explain and advocate for the judicious use of pesticides moving forward. Until we change this narrative around pesticides I think we’ll continue to see a tax on really important products to farmers.”  

American Soybean Association President and South Dakota farmer Kevin Scott says he uses chlorpyrifos to manage spider mites in soybeans.  

“It’s going to be a hard thing to compensate for,” he says.

He tells Brownfield growers have reason to be concerned for what the decision means for future crop protection tools.

“Chlorpyrifos isn’t the only thing we’re worried about,” he says. “It’s what the next product could be if EPA is going to drop them based on a pending lawsuit. We need to play a little harder in that realm and be a little more astute and busy on the legal front.”  

ASA has pushed for continued farmer access to chlorpyrifos.