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March 27, 2014

AFBF Evaluates EPA's Proposed WPS Rule Revisions

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency published a proposal revising the Worker Protection Standard rule, which covers handling and application of pesticides. The rule is extensive, and the American Farm Bureau Federation is in the process of evaluating it to see how it will affect farmers and ranchers. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyEPA’s proposed rule to revise the Worker Protection Standard is the first proposed revision in the past 20-years. The proposal includes many changes that would increase obligations for farmers and ranchers who use pesticides, according to American Farm Bureau labor specialist Paul Schlegel. These include increased training, more frequent training and more record keeping, among other things.
SchlegelThey say they are expanding their definition of a family farm, and immediate family members are exempt from all these provisions. And we want to make sure whatever it is they are doing does not adversely affect family farms.
OtterbySchlegel says farmers and farm workers understand the need to be careful when handling pesticides.
SchlegelWe are mindful of the fact that when you’re working with hazardous chemicals, you need to be careful, you need to be well-trained. We don’t want to put our workers in jeopardy any more than anyone else. We just want to make sure that the standards they adopt are reasonable and related to the risk that’s involved.
OtterbyAmerican Farm Bureau will hold a conference call with state Farm Bureau officials to discuss the proposal and the process for preparing comments on the proposed changes.
SchlegelWe will evaluate and see which ones have an impact, see which ones might be legitimate, and comment on the substance of all those proposed changes.
OtterbyThe current deadline to submit comments is June 17th. Seanica Otterby, Washington.

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