Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed strategy for herbicide use. Chad Smith tells us the agency is now giving farmers and ranchers more time to comment on the proposed rule.
Smith: The EPA released a draft strategy on herbicide use designed to better protect endangered species. John Walt Boatright, director of government affairs with the American Farm Bureau, talks about the EPA strategy.
Boatright: Well, the EPA’s herbicide strategy is an attempt to try to bring into compliance their pesticide registration regulations with Endangered Species Act obligations. And that means anytime that they must consider, review, or register a pesticide product, they must factor into the impacts of that product on endangered species and the critical habitats on which those species rely.
Smith: The EPA provided a 60-day comment period and recently extended it by 30 days to October 22.
Boatright: The proposal was quite voluminous. There was really, in total, over 900 pages that comprised the strategy over several different documents. For us, in terms of an industry to be able to read and digest and craft responses, really was going to take too much time. So that's what led American Farm Bureau and other industry groups to formally ask for an extension.
Smith: Boatright says the proposed rule will impact all farmers who use conventional herbicides.
Boatright: We're encouraging our members and producers around the country to certainly be aware of the proposal, and what they're planning, at least initially, to do in regards to pesticide applications and herbicide applications, and to encourage them to be involved with their different industry organizations who may have a role in advocating for the best possible policy.
Smith: For more information, go to fb.org. Chad Smith, Washington.