The deadline for the EPA Atrazine comment period is fast approaching. For growers who haven’t done it yet, groups like the National Corn Grower Association and the Agriculture Retailers Association are encouraging farmers to express support for atrazine before October 5, 2016. To make the process easy, both the NCGA website and the ARA website offer help sending an e-mail.
“Atrazine is a safe and effective crop management tool, and EPA should base their decisions on sound science,” said National Corn Growers Production and Stewardship Action Team Chairman Brent Hostetler, a farmer from Plain City, Ohio. “That’s why I’m urging farmers to contact the EPA and make their voices heard.”
Farming without atrazine could cost farmers up to $59 per acre, according to a 2012 analysis by the University of Chicago. That could mean the difference between corn farmers making a profit or loss on their crop. Atrazine, a key ingredient in nearly 100 herbicide mixes farmers use, is one of the best tools on the market today for combatting resistant weeds that waste water and nutrients.
As part of the draft ecological risk assessment, EPA recommends reducing the aquatic life level of concern (LOC) from 10 parts per billion (ppb) on a 60-day average, to 3.4 ppb. Scientific evidence points to a safe aquatic life LOC at 25 ppb or greater. If this recommendation holds, it would result in a de facto ban on atrazine.
‘The future of some essential crop protection tools are at stake. It is important for our industry to weigh in with EPA to ensure they are following sound science and accurate data prior to making any final decisions. The agency needs to learn about the importance of these products to your customer’s crop production,” states the ARA.