EPA’s recent decision to end the use of the widely employed food and non-food crop pesticide chlorpyrifos will not take effect immediately, as first feared. American Farm Bureau Vice President of Public Affairs Sam Kieffer says AFB asked Environmental Protection Agency staffers about the timing of the chlorpyrifos ban when it was being announced and was led to believe it was immediate—including for any on-farm stocks.
But Kieffer says that information’s now changed. “We expect EPA to publish their rule in the Federal Register here in late August, and the rule will go into effect six months after they publish it.”
But Kieffer says there could be complications. “The tricky thing will be the use of any stocks. Presumably, one could use on-farm stocks, but if any residues are found on any food products or, potentially, any feed products, in the next six months, there could be some ramifications.”
Kieffer says that lets producers off the hook for now, but after that, soybean and fruit and vegetable growers may have to turn to two or three alternate pesticides to do the same job as chlorpyrifos.
The AFB official says that could increase production costs and potentially decrease yields, depending on several factors. EPA’s ban does not affect cotton and golf courses and responds to a federal court decision affecting mostly food crop uses of chlorpyrifos.