Take action on proposed atrazine restrictions


Illinois Farm Bureau issued an action request Thursday, asking FB ACT members to urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to refrain from implementing stricter limits on the use of atrazine. 

Atrazine, a key component in over 90 herbicide mixtures, for decades has been applied to control broadleaf and grassy weeds and aids in sustainable farming practices like no-till. 

"If they are successful, this would make using a safe and widely-used product extremely difficult," IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. said of the agency's proposed changes. 

EPA introduced the suggested label restrictions in June, saying they are aimed at addressing the herbicide's impact on aquatic plants. 

The limits would include setting the acceptable level, or concentration equivalent level of concern (CE-LOC), of atrazine at 3.4 parts per billion (ppb). That level, if finalized, would fall below the 15 ppb CE-LOC set by EPA in 2020 under an interim registration decision.

The agency's proposal also calls for prohibiting applications in saturated fields, limiting annual application rates and requiring growers in watersheds with atrazine levels above 3.4 ppb to choose from a "picklist" of practices to mitigate runoff. 

Speaking with the RFD Radio Network, Mark Gebhards, IFB executive director of governmental affairs and commodities, said the reduced atrazine concentration level would impact over 70% of U.S. corn acres.

"This certainly would be a negative impact on producers. This is a big deal," Gebhards said. "It's very important that U.S. EPA hear from growers on this issue."

Gebhards added ag groups want to see the scientific justification behind lowering the level and are calling for a peer review "to make sure there's a valid reason we (would) have to go to this." 

FB ACT members alerted by a text message or an email notification can complete the action request by clicking the link in the text message or the "TAKE ACTION" button in the email.

Members who did not receive the notification but want to join the call to action should text ATRAZINE to 52886 or go online.

The action request is live until further notice. An EPA comment period on the proposal closes Sept. 6.

IFB previously weighed in on atrazine on behalf of members in February 2021, telling EPA to incorporate new data in its biological evaluation of the herbicide.

That organizational comment noted how by using atrazine, farmers can utilize lesser amounts of other herbicide products, while boosting their yields and improving crop quality. 

This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.