EPA Proposes Pesticide Application Exclusion Zone Requirements Update

The Environmental Protection Agency Thursday issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding application exclusion zones, known as AEZ. The National Corn Growers Association says the proposal would make two major changes for farmers. The changes include modifying the AEZ so it is only enforceable on a farmer’s property. The proposal would replace the current regulation requiring farmers to ensure individuals are outside of the pesticide AEZ not only on their property, but off their property as well. The proposal would also exempt farm owners and their immediate family members from the requirement that they leave their home during certain pesticide applications. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated in an agency news release the updates maintain safety requirements, “while providing greater flexibility for farmers.” The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomed the proposed rule change. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “every effort to make the rule more sensible and practical for farmers while safeguarding workers is important.” EPA will accept comments on the proposal through a 90-day comment period.