The Environmental Protection Agency approved 10 pesticides for use on hemp and proposing new regulations for atrazine.
Hemp growers will have the ability to use pesticides on the crop in 2020.
Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, EPA is approving the use of 10 pesticide products on hemp. Nine of these products are biopesticides and one is a conventional pesticide. EPA is also issuing a proposed interim decision on atrazine. Both actions provide regulatory certainty and clarity on how these tools can be used.
“With common-sense actions, we are protecting the health of our nation and ensuring that crops such as corn, sorghum, sugar cane and hemp can be protected against a broad spectrum of weeds and pests,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
What are other federal agencies working on regarding hemp?
While EPA oversees pesticide registrations for hemp under FIFRA, other federal agencies are working to streamline their separate regulatory implementation processes for the newly legalized crop. The 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to develop a regulatory oversight program for hemp. USDA has since proposed a rule for state-level hemp growing/management plans. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration also plays a role in regulating hemp products when they fall under their regulatory authority.
“We’ve learned a lot about hemp since the establishment of the pilot programs in 2014, and we’re continuing our progress to ensure hemp is treated just like every other legal commodity,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
What is EPA doing with atrazine?
EPA is proposing new, stronger protections to reduce exposure to atrazine — the next step in the registration review process required under FIFRA.
Atrazine is a widely used herbicide that controls a variety of grasses and broadleaf weeds. Atrazine is used on about 75 million acres annually and is most often applied to corn, sorghum, and sugarcane.
As part of this action, the agency is proposing a reduction to the maximum application rate for atrazine used on residential turf, and other updates to the label requirements, including mandatory spray drift control measures. EPA’s proposed decision is based on the 2016 draft ecological risk assessment and the 2018 human health draft risk assessment for atrazine.
EPA is also proposing updates to the requirements for propazine and simazine, which are chemically related to atrazine. EPA will be taking comment on the atrazine, propazine and simazine Proposed Interim Decisions for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Comments can be made to the following dockets EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0266 (atrazine), EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0250 (propazine), and EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0251 (simazine) once the Federal Register notice publishes online.
“We appreciate the EPA’s proposal to re-register atrazine,” said Missouri Corn Growers Association CEO and Triazine Network Chair Gary Marshall. “This product is tremendously important to farmers across the country, especially for weed control in conservation practices.”
“National Sorghum Producers appreciates EPA applying sound science and moving forward with this key step in the reregistration process,” said National Sorghum Producers Chairman Dan Atkisson.
And, in other news.
EPA is continuing to build and enhance its relationship with the agricultural sector through the agency’s Smart Sectors program. Staff and senior leaders, including Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp and Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford, are meeting in Lenexa, Kansas with representatives from the renewable fuels industry.