The National Corn Grower Association is asking farmers to express their support for the herbicide atrazine at www.ncga.com/atz before the Oct. 5, 2016 deadline. “Atrazine is a safe and effective crop management tool, and EPA should base their decisions on sound science,” said National Corn Growers Production and Stewardship Action Team Chairman Brent Hostetler, a farmer from Plain City, Ohio. “That’s why I’m urging farmers to contact the EPA and make their voices heard.”
Farming without atrazine could cost farmers up to $59 per acre, according to a 2012 analysis by the University of Chicago. That could mean the difference between corn farmers making a profit or loss on their crop. Atrazine, a key ingredient in nearly 100 herbicide mixes farmers use, is one of the best tools on the market today for combatting resistant weeds that waste water and nutrients.
“EPA needs to be reminded that atrazine has been around for 50 years, and more than 7,000 scientific studies have proven it is safe,” said Hostetler. “All farmers should be concerned, because EPA is not basing their risk assessment of atrazine on sound science. That means all crop protection tools are at risk. I urge everyone to step up, and contact the EPA today.”
As part of the draft ecological risk assessment, EPA recommends reducing the aquatic life level of concern (LOC) from 10 parts per billion (ppb) on a 60-day average, to 3.4 ppb. Scientific evidence points to a safe aquatic life LOC at 25 ppb or greater. If this recommendation holds, it would result in a de facto ban on atrazine.