Seed World

EPA Pesticide Proposal Could Have Negative Impact on Farmers: USDA

According to the program director of the United States Department of Agriculture’s pesticide policy office, the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to protect bees from exposure to pesticides could have a negative impact on “numerous specialty crop farmers and the rural economies they contribute to across the U.S.”
In her letter to the EPA’s pesticide programs director Jack Housenger, USDA Office of Pest Management Policy director Sheryl Kunickis says USDA “has concerns with proposed prohibitions and encourages a thorough evaluation of adverse effects reports associated with contracted pollination services” in order to “best understand where protection improvements can be made, rather than in enacting a complete prohibition in crop protection materials.”

Under its “Proposal to Mitigate Exposure to Bees from Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products,” EPA is proposing to prohibit the applications of “pesticides that are highly toxic to bees when crops are in bloom and bees are under contract for pollination services. These restrictions would prohibit application of most insecticides and some herbicides during bloom,” according to EPA’s website.
Proposed restrictions would apply to all products that have:

  • Liquid or dust formulations as applied;
  • Foliar use (applying pesticides directly to crop leaves) directions for use on crops; and
  • Active ingredients that have been determined via testing to have high toxicity for bees (less than 11 micrograms per bee).