Crops News

FMC asks farmers to defend bifenthrin to EPA


The pyrethroid class of insecticides is up for an EPA review in 2017 and FMC is asking soybean growers to voice their support for bifenthrin.

The EPA is required to review and re-evaluate active ingredients in crop production every 15 years. The EPA’s decision could put the future of critical bifenthrin insecticides in peril.

In November 2016, the EPA delivered a conservative and oversimplified preliminary risk assessment, says Rick Kesler, FMC’s industry relations manager.

“It was a very simplistic and incomplete risk assessment,” Kesler told a group of Minnesota soybean leaders recently. “They didn’t include a lot of their own data, they didn’t include most of the data that the pyrethroid working group presented to them. What we want them to do is go back and give a much more complete and robust review.”

Bifenthrin is used on more than 14 million acres in the United States, and nearly a million acres in Minnesota alone. Numerous crops, including corn and soybeans, are among the crops nationwide that bifenthrin protects from pests.

There is vocal opposition to this crucial insecticide, primarily in California. Before the EPA can deliver its final assessment, they need equally vigorous input from farmers and other agricultural stakeholders.

Until March 31, farmers will have their chance to speak up and express the importance of bifenthrin as an effective and sustainable pest management tool.

Kesler doesn’t anticipate the EPA will completely remove bifenthrin from the marketplace, but hopes the agency employs sound science and utilizes all the available resources before rendering any unwarranted restrictions.

“They do a lot of computer modeling instead of real-world data,” he says. “We need to get involved. If we don’t get involved, they could put a lot more mitigation restrictions than are necessary.”

Farmers are encouraged to visit, comment and explain how the use of bifenthrin is critical and a potential restriction could cause setbacks.

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