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Industry input needed on EPA’s herbicide strategy

Ag groups are urging farmers, retailers and other stakeholders to submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on its proposed herbicide strategy before the October 22 deadline.

Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association President KJ Johnson tells Brownfield the proposed plan would restrict pesticide applications in areas with known endangered species, but the resources are outdated.

“Because some of these maps that they’re looking at on endangered species haven’t been updated for 15 or 20 years. Let’s look at updating maps, or is there a better map that is out there?”

He says the strategy includes a “pick list” of conservation practices and if those are met, restrictions can be waived. But, Johnson says IFCA has questions.

“If a farmer says they have done everything on that pick list and they hire an ag retailer to spray, who’s that responsibility on if everything isn’t met on that pick list or they say they’re not in an endangered species area and they are?”

He says Illinois is specifically concerned with one sub-section of the strategy.

“It says if you have field tile, you are out, can’t do anything on the pick list and you would have to pretty much drain your water into a wetland. I would say 90% of every acre in the state of Illinois has some field tile, so that would directly impact us more than some other states.”

He says the strategy would be the same for the entire country, but considering regional differences would be beneficial.

Johnson says the most useful comments to the agency are ones that provide solutions or outline areas that need clarification.

Audio: Interview with KJ Johnson

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