The EPA has granted Arkansas rice farmers a Section 18 exemption for use of the pesticide Intrepid.
Populations of fall armyworms have ravaged rice fields in the state in the last few weeks, and growers were limited to use of less effective pyrethroids in their fight against the pest. Intrepid, an effective tool against armyworm, is not labeled for use on rice in Arkansas, as it is on other crops.
“This is the biggest outbreak of fall armyworm situation that I’ve ever seen in my career,” Gus Lorenz, extension entomologist for the Division of Agriculture, said in a release last Friday. “They’re in pastures, rice, soybeans, grain sorghum. It’s epic.”
Growers can now fight back with the EPA's temporary emergency rule change that allows for use of Intrepid on their rice after an appeal to the agency last week.
“The specific exemption is still under review at EPA, but application can be made under the crisis exemption,” said Lorenz, in a release.
He has also noted that this year's armyworm has probably cost growers several million dollars.
Arkansas leads the U.S. in rice production.