Sunday, November 28, 2021

Another Tool Lost

In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revoked the insecticide chlorpyrifos’ tolerances for all commodities. It was not a surprise. University of Georgia Extension entomologist Mark Abney and others Extension personnel had been warning producers about this possibility.

In a news release, the EPA said it will stop the use of chlorpyrifos on all food to better protect human health, particularly that of children and farmworkers. The revocation of the tolerances for all commodities would be effective six months after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.

The EPA’s announcement left growers and Extension with many questions. North Carolina State University Extension agronomist David Jordan says growers have been asking him what to do with the Lorsban they did not use this year.

“In some cases when a product is discontinued, there is a grace period for product that is in the hands of farmers, which can be used in the future until it is depleted. That is not the case with Lorsban.”

Jordan says as he sees it, if you have any remaining Lorsban on your farm, it should be taken back to the distributor. You will not be able to use those stocks on the 2022 peanut crop and market them.

Seeking clarity on the rule, the U.S. Peanut Federation joined other agricultural groups and members of Congress in a letter to the EPA.

The letter reads, “EPA’s action has put growers, agricultural stakeholders and supply chains in an unfair and impossible position through no fault of their own. This is compounded by the fact that the Agency has not offered sufficient guidance to stakeholders on how they should expect to comply with this action — guidance which should have been ready at the time it was announced. We urge you to expeditiously provide stakeholders and the public much-needed clarity regarding the continued use and existence of chlorpyrifos in supply chains.”

Some clarification may come but, ultimately, growers will be left trying to figure out an alternative to Lorsban, a product that has been around for a long time.

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