Spanberger leads effort urging EPA to delay herbicide registration revisions
Abigail Spanberger is leading a bipartisan effort calling on the EPA to delay potential herbicide registration revisions — such as dicamba registrations — that could exacerbate existing herbicide shortages, threaten the ability of some farmers to plant crops on time, and negatively impact the bottom lines of American farmers and producers in the 2022 growing season.
In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Spanberger and 12 of her colleagues in the U.S. House called on the agency to delay the implementation of any upcoming herbicide registration revisions until at this time.
Citing nationwide supply chain backlogs and heightened consumer demand, the bipartisan group of lawmakers made clear that such a delay would reduce burdensome costs on American farmers and prevent families from seeing further price increases at the grocery store.
Spanberger’s letter was also signed by U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-GA-13), as well as U.S. Representatives Cindy Axne (D-IA-03), Sanford Bishop (D-GA-02), Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-01), Jim Costa (D-CA-16), Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), Steven Palazzo (R-MS-04), Terri Sewell (D-AL-07), and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08).
“During this period of economic uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, taking steps to restrict the number of herbicides that farmers can utilize could seriously exacerbate existing strains on supply chains, leading to shortages, increased demand for already supply-constrained alternatives, price hikes, and significant losses directly to farmers who have already purchased herbicide and seed for the upcoming 2022 growing season,” said Spanberger and her colleagues. “In addition, these restrictions could force farmers to reduce their use of conservation practices such as no-till agriculture that have been instrumental in reaching regional water quality goals, increasing soil carbon sequestration, improving soil quality, and reducing run-off.”
Their letter continued, “In light of these concerns, we strongly urge the EPA to reconsider any new herbicide registration restrictions at this time. In addition, we urge the EPA to provide sufficiently advanced notification of any expected future registration revisions so that farmers, suppliers, herbicide manufacturers, and seed producers have adequate time to plan for new use conditions.”
The Spanberger-spearheaded effort to delay herbicide revisions immediately received the support of several national and local farm organizations.
“We are very concerned with any new restrictions from EPA that would undermine use of the limited tools growers can access under already-strained supply chains,” said Kevin Scott, South Dakota soybean farmer & president, American Soybean Association. “If EPA regulatory actions cause significant shifts in demand for seeds, herbicides, or other inputs for millions of crop acres just a few short months before spring planting, we could see our supply chain situation go from bad to much worse. ASA appreciates Rep. Spanberger’s efforts to get out in front of this threat and warn EPA of the potentially dire consequences of new restrictions at this time.”
“We thank Congresswoman Spanberger for her leadership in requesting EPA to reconsider registration restrictions on several critical agricultural herbicides,” said Wayne F. Pryor, president, Virginia Farm Bureau. “During this period of economic uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, taking steps to restrict the number of herbicides that farmers can utilize could seriously exacerbate existing strains on supply chains, leading to shortages, increased demand for already supply-constrained alternatives, price hikes, and significant losses directly to farmers who have already purchased herbicide and seed for the upcoming 2022 growing season. We are deeply concerned that any changes to herbicide registrations for the 2022 growing season will result in significant financial losses for farmers unable to utilize inputs already purchased or ordered, posing a serious risk to the food supply and farm viability. Again, we thank Congresswoman Spanberger for recognizing this risk and proactively working towards a remedy.”
“With the supply chain issues farmers are facing, producers need certainty now more than ever. Altering herbicide registrations this late in the season would jeopardize farmers’ 2022 planting season, lead to significant losses, increase costs and reduce the use of important conservation practices,” said Kyle Shreve, executive director, Virginia Agribusiness Council. “We appreciate Representative Spanberger and House colleagues recognizing this reality and join them in urging EPA not to revise registrations outside of the normal review process.”
Click here to read the letter.