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Ag lobbyist says EPA pesticide pilot project is problematic for farmers

An ag lobbyist says all the focus right now is on the farm bill, but there are bigger challenges ahead for farmers.

Mary Kay Thatcher senior lead for federal government relations with Syngenta says she has her eyes on the recent moves from the Environmental Protection Agency.  “If I’m really sitting back and thinking about what’s farmers’ pocketbooks, we ought to be worried about these regulations on pesticides coming out of EPA,” she says.  “Because they are fast and furious and these mandatory mitigation requirements they are going to force farmers to do is going to be awful.”

She tells Brownfield that the EPA’s vulnerable species pilot program is a perfect example.  “Before you apply a pesticide you have to ask a local fish and wildlife service for permission three months before you put the pesticide on,” she says.  “How do you know what pesticide you’re going to need in three months?  It’s absolutely crazy.”

Thatcher says there has to be balance. “I don’t disagree at all that the EPA has to find answers to the endangered species and pesticide laws,” she says.  “But what they proposed could be a real killer for agriculture.”

Thatcher says farmers do a really good job of bringing members of Congress on to their operations to better understand agriculture, and that same courtesy should be given to members of the EPA (local, regional, and federal) or even the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

Brownfield interviewed Thatcher during the 2023 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL. 

AUDIO: Mary Kay Thatcher, Syngenta

  • Why would one expect local fish and wildlife officials to have any knowledge whatsoever about pesticide impacts on fish and wildlife, and why would you require farmers to have to obtain permits from them to apply pesticides that have obtained Federal approval to apply.

    This is parallel to the overreach of the WOTUS legislation that has been overturned by the US Supreme Court.

    Only a change in Administration will prevent this from constantly being an issue to the agriculture industry.

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