(Posted Fri. Jun 24th, 2016)
Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency signaled this week that they intend to extend until October 4 the public comment period on the preliminary Ecological Risk Assessment for the herbicide atrazine. The National Corn Growers Association was among several organizations requesting extension of the comment period.
If EPA’s draft recommendation stands, atrazine use would likely be banned in most U.S. farming areas. NCGA urged farmers to submit their comments as soon as possible, which they can do online at www.ncga.com/atz.
“Atrazine is a safe and effective crop management tool, and taking away this option will set farming practices back decades. That’s why we need farmers to be engaged on this issue. EPA needs to hear from all of us,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling.
In a letter to the EPA requesting an extension, Bowling called atrazine “a key component in weed management and modern conservation practices.” Losing access to this herbicide would have a negative impact on the environment, as well as “severe impacts for farmers in terms of yield loss and input costs.”
Atrazine is a widely used herbicide proven to combat the spread of resistant weeds, while also reducing soil erosion and improving wildlife habitats. Atrazine use allows farmers to do less tilling, which can erode soil and lead to nutrient loss. Studies suggest farming without atrazine could cost corn farmers up to $59 per acre.
For more information on atrazine, visit www.agsense.org.