October 23, 2014

EPA Announces Voluntary Program to Reduce Pesticide Drift

More stars equals greater potential for reducing spray drift of pesticides in the latest program by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA announced Tuesday a new voluntary Drift Reduction Technology program to encourage the use of verified, safer pesticide spray products. The program is an effort by the EPA to reduce exposure and pesticide movement. Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, stated “Our new star-rating system of products and technologies will help farmers reduce drift, protect neighbors and reduce costs by keeping more of the pesticide on the crop.”

The EPA says this program encourages manufactures to test their technology such as nozzles and spray shields for drift reduction potential. Spray technology manufactures interested in the program can submit data to the EPA. The EPA will evaluate the data and assign a star rating which will be posted on the EPA’s website. The EPA estimates that one to ten percent of agricultural pesticide sprays drift or move from the intended target crop.


EPA Approves Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide

EPA registration of Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide was announced Wednesday. The pesticide is for use in controlling weeds in corn and soybeans genetically-engineered to tolerate 2,4-D and glyphosate. This approval follows USDA’s September approval of corn and soybean varieties designed to tolerate the herbicide. The decision posted to the regulatory docket states that the decision reflected “a large body of science and an understanding of the risk of pesticides.” Noting that the herbicide met standards necessary to protect public health, the EPA further noted that it used “highly conservative” assumptions in its risk evaluation. EPA is registering the pesticide in six states; Illinois Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The agency is accepting comments until Nov. 14, on whether to register Enlist Duo in ten more states; Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota

The American Soybean Association along with the National Corn Grower Association welcomes the registration of Enlist Duo Herbicide. Both groups released statement supporting the registration. ASA President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser stated “we now look to our key export partners to approve this trait.” ASA called upon foreign markets where U.S. soybeans are exported to quickly review and approve these new biotech events so that they can be commercialized here in the United States without jeopardizing export markets and U.S. farmers can realize their benefit. NCGA member and Ohio grower John Linder said “This final step should place a necessary, new tool in the hands of corn and soybean farmers in immediate need of new systems to combat growing weed pressures.”


Four Billion Acres of Biotech Crops Have Been Harvested Across The World

As of last week, farmers across the world have now harvested four billion acres of biotech crops since commercialization of the technology in 1996. Illinois Farmer Dan Kelley serves on the board of Truth About Trade and Technology, a non-profit group providing information about trade and technology issues affecting the world

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Kelley says farmers have seen dramatic improvements to the crops they grow

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But Kelley says it’s not just farmers that stand to benefit from biotechnology in agriculture

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New varieties are also in development that could add nutrients to crops grown in developing areas, addressing nutritional deficiencies in those populations. Kelley says while some consumers are still wary of the relatively new technology, biotech crops undergo a great deal of research and scrutiny. Four billion harvested acres later, Kelley says they are still proven safe for his family and yours.