The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to review and re-evaluate active ingredients in crop production every 15 years. The pyrethroid class of insecticides is due for review in 2017, and EPA’s decision could put the future of critical bifenthrin insecticides in peril.
In November 2016, the EPA delivered a conservative and oversimplified preliminary risk assessment, says Rick Kesler, FMC’s industry relations manager.
“It was a very simplistic and incomplete risk assessment,” Kesler told a group of Minnesota soybean leaders this week. “They didn’t include a lot of their own data, they didn’t include most of the data that the pyrethroid working group presented to them. What we want them to do is go back and give a much more complete and robust review.”
Bifenthrin is used on more than 14 million acres in the United States, and nearly a million acres in Minnesota alone. Numerous crops, including corn and soybeans, are among the crops nationwide that bifenthrin protects from pests.
There is vocal opposition to this crucial insecticide, primarily in California. Before the EPA can deliver its final assessment, they need equally vigorous input from farmers and other agricultural stakeholders.
Until March 31, Minnesota farmers will have their chance to speak up and express the importance of bifenthrin as an effective and sustainable pest management tool.
The easiest route is to visit defendbifenthrin.com, where bifenthrin proponents can submit comments and concerns to the EPA.
“The EPA needs to know you need this tool in your tool box,” says Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Director Earl Ziegler.
Kesler doesn’t anticipate the EPA will completely remove bifenthrin from the marketplace, but hopes the agency employs sound science and utilizes all the available resources before rendering any unwarranted restrictions.
“They do a lot of computer modeling instead of real-world data,” he says. “We need to get involved. If we don’t get involved, they could put a lot more mitigation restrictions than are necessary.”
Farmers are encouraged to visit defendbifenthrin.com, comment and explain how the use of bifenthrin is critical and a potential restriction could cause setbacks.