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EPA herbicide strategy concerning for ag

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is implementing steps to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and Aaron Hager, weed scientist at the University of Illinois, tells Brownfield…

“It will bring changes to how, and in some cases even where, we’re going to be able to use some of our very important herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides,” he says.

Illinois Soybean Association chairman, and central Illinois farmer, Ron Kindred says any changes to herbicide requirements should be practical…

“I think it would really hurt productivity here in Illinois by enforcing those the way they have them structured today.”  He says, “So, we’re working on that to make sure that these are science based regulations that are realistic.”

Hager says the rusty patch bumblebee was one of 27 species identified as part of an initial EPA pilot project.  He says the proposed restrictions around the insect’s identified ranges would be strict…

“Things like what they term ‘avoidance,’ which basically means in that range, no pesticide could be applied.”  He says, “That’s no herbicide. That’s no insecticide. That’s no fungicide. If it’s not an actual prohibition of pesticide, they’re also going to establish about a half a mile buffer around that home range.”

The courts are requiring EPA to become more compliant with the ESA.  The agency is expected to release its final decision by the end of August.

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