GILBERT, ARIZONA (NOVEMBER 22, 2023) – The USDA forecasts the sharpest decline in U.S. farm income in history as a result of high input costs and declining commodity prices in 2024. The Humic Products Trade Association (HPTA) is spearheading an initiative to support farmers by urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to define Nutritional Chemicals, an essential but overlooked exemption in pesticide law. This will help farmers gain greater access to these products, which can reduce fertilizer loss and promote nutrient utilization for better crop yields and enhanced ROI.
The HPTA believes that defining Nutritional Chemicals will empower farmers to make informed choices regarding applying Nutritional Chemicals, like humic and fulvic acids, thereby enhancing crop productivity while contributing to environmental goals, like reducing nutrient leaching and carbon emissions. They call upon the EPA to define Nutritional Chemicals to allow the states to provide a uniform, transparent regulatory framework.
Under pesticide law, there are two categories: fertilizers, exempted from pesticide law and regulated by states, and pesticides, overseen by the Federal government through the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Since FIFRA was passed in 1947, the definition of Nutritional Chemicals, added by an amendment in 1954, has remained absent, leaving a large gap in the regulatory clarity of these products.
HPTA’s request to EPA is to define the existing FIFRA exemption. Nutritional Chemicals are exempted from FIFRA and should be regulated by the states, like fertilizers. However, the missing definition makes it unclear which products are intended to be exempted from Federal control.
The absence of a definition for Nutritional Chemicals has significant consequences for farmers and suppliers. It results in uncertainty regarding the regulation and labeling of these products, leading to inconsistencies across states and impeding farmers’ access to these resources.
Russell Taylor, President of HPTA, emphasized, “Defining nutritional chemicals is a crucial stride in the right direction. It will complete a federally recognized category of exempted products, enabling states to establish a consistent and uniform regulatory framework that supports sustainable farming practices and environmental objectives.”