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EPA extends atrazine review comment period — MFB urges member input

The EPA estimates replacing atrazine would cost farmers more than $40 per acre before accounting for reduced yields. Image credit: Michigan Farm Bureau
Date Posted: August 23, 2022

In a rare move, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the comment period in their review of atrazine — one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. — after reopening its finalized registration earlier this month.

The EPA is now accepting comments through Oct. 7, giving farmers more time to share their thoughts and urge the agency to follow science in its decision making.

Michigan Farm Bureau is encouraging its members to take action by visiting or texting the phrase MICROPS to the number 52886.

Under the EPA proposal, restrictions for all atrazine uses will include:

  • No application on saturated fields.
  • No application when it is raining or when rain is likely to occur in the next 48 hours.
  • No aerial application.
  • Reduced corn and sorghum application rate to 2 pounds per acre, per year.

Corn and sorghum growers would also have to use additional mitigation measures, the type and frequency of which would be determined by watershed location.

According to data from the Ag Census, those restrictions would apply to more than 3.5 million acres of Michigan field and sweet corn, wheat, Christmas trees, sod, sorghum, and more. 

“Farmers need clarity and consistency from the EPA,” said Laura Campbell, MFB senior conservation and regulatory relations specialist. “It is critical for our members to make their voices heard and tell the EPA how devastating these changes would be.”

More than 90 members of Congress — including multiple lawmakers from Michigan — recently shared their concerns over the proposal in a letter to EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan

The letter states the EPA has relied on “invalid studies and questionable conclusions” in its decision to reopen the registration for atrazine, calling the move a “significant change which contradicts previous overwhelming evidence” that supported the finalized registration. 

“For nearly 60 years, atrazine has been a reliable and proven herbicide for effective and efficient sustainable farming practices,” the lawmakers wrote.

Among other requests, the letter asks the EPA to submit their proposed revisions for atrazine for a formal review by a panel under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

“We believe that food security is national security,” the letter concludes. “Crop protection tools registered through FIFRA are vital to the sustainability, efficiency, and effectiveness of our nation’s food supply, which is why the integrity of a science-driven FIFRA process should not be undermined.”

Media Contacts
Laura Campbell headshot

Laura Campbell

Senior Conservation & Regulatory Relations Specialist
517-679-5332 [email protected]
Jon Adamy

Jon Adamy

Media Relations Specialist
(517) 323-6782 [email protected]