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EPA offers clarity to farmers concerning dicamba registrations

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a key order providing farmers with needed clarity following the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ June 3 vacatur of three dicamba registrations. The cancellation order outlines limited and specific circumstances under which existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products can be used for a limited period of time. The EPA’s order will advance protection of public health and the environment by ensuring use of existing stocks follows important application procedures.

“At the height of the growing season, the Court’s decision has threatened the livelihood of our nation’s farmers and the global food supply,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s cancellation and existing stocks order is consistent with EPA’s standard practice following registration invalidation, and is designed to advance compliance, ensure regulatory certainty, and to prevent the misuse of existing stocks.”

The EPA’s order will mitigate some of the devastating economic consequences of the court’s decision for growers, and particularly rural communities, at a time they are experiencing great stress due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

Details of the Order

The EPA’s order addresses sale, distribution, and use of existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products — Bayer’s XtendiMax with vapor grip technology, BASF’s  Engenia, and Corteva’s FeXapan.

  1. Distribution or sale by any person is generally prohibited except for ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant.
  2. Growers and commercial applicators may use existing stocks that were in their possession on June 3, 2020, the effective date of the Court decision. Such use must be consistent with the product’s previously-approved label, and may not continue after July 31, 2020. Click here for the EPA’s full order — see page 11 for key details.

Although the order was supposed to clear out confusion for farmers and ag retailers, some organizations said it was not enough. For example, the Agricultural Retailers Association said, “The current order will create confusion, especially since it is being issued at the end of today with the June 3, 2020, cut-off date and after many individual states publicly authorized the continued sale and use of these products over the weekend and through today. This EPA announcement does not fully address the continued confusion being created by the Ninth Circuit Court decision.”

Background

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order less than a week ago vacating EPA’s pesticide registrations containing the active ingredient dicamba: Xtendimax with Vaporgrip Technology — (EPA Reg. No. 524-617); Engenia — (EPA Reg. No. 7969-345); and FeXapan — (EPA Reg. No. 352-913).

Dicamba is a valuable pest control tool that farmers nationwide planned to use during the 2020 growing season. Since the Court issued its opinion, the agency has been overwhelmed with letters and calls from farmers citing the devastation of this decision on the millions of acres of crops, millions of dollars already invested by farmers, and threat to America’s food supply.

On their website, Bayer said, “We welcome the EPA’s swift action to provide that customers who have already invested in XtendiMax and the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System can continue to protect their crops from difficult-to-control weeds.” Read more here

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of AGDAILY. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
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