Plan now to comply with new herbicide regulations

The senior policy director at the Missouri Soybean Association says farmers will need to implement more soil health practices to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s new herbicide strategy.

Casey Wasser says starting in 2025, the EPA will start assigning values to pesticides in the re-registration process based on how harmful the product might be to a species within a pesticide use limitation area (PULA). And farmers in those areas must make field changes to use the products.

“EPA’s going to give products a point value, let’s say it’s 9 and then, as a farmer, you’ll have a list of practices to choose from. They said the list would be placed on the EPA’s website. It goes through there and cover crops might be worth 2 points and buffer strips might be worth 3.”

A court has ordered the EPA to better comply with the Endangered Species Act and the herbicide strategy is a solution EPA is using to improve compliance. The EPA and USDA have signed a memorandum of understanding to make the herbicide strategy more farmer friendly and be mindful of endangered species.

Wasser says the strategy isn’t something that’s going away regardless of any president’s administration.

“The court was pretty clear the EPA must comply with the Endangered Species Act. It’s not a rule they can promulgate and then, repeal under a different administration and repromulgate. We encourage farmers to familiarize themselves with what’s coming so they can plan ahead.”

The EPA is expected to release a final herbicide action strategy by the end of August. Read the draft plan.

Wasser says Missouri Soybeans plans to bring on additional staff to help answer farmer questions about compliance ahead of 2025.

Brownfield interviewed Wasser at the Missouri Soybean’s Cover Crop Field Day in mid-Missouri on Thursday.

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